When it comes to farming and growing food, Canadian farmers may not have the same access to a global marketplace as their American counterparts, but their growing capacity to scale is growing.
That’s according to a new study, published in the Journal of Agricultural Economics, that found Canadian agriculture has a robust supply chain and the potential to grow up to 5.8 million metric tons of food in 2030.
And that’s just the crops and livestock they produce.
That number could double if we keep up the momentum.
“If we keep this pace, we’re going to be in a position where we can produce more than 7.7 million metric ton of food,” says University of Waterloo economist Michael C. Reichert.
That would be enough food for 2.5 billion people in 2050.
And the potential is there for even more food if we invest in the right research and infrastructure, and if we continue to diversify our agricultural supply chain.
“We’re in a very good place right now, but we still have a lot of work to do,” says Reichers.
Reighert is a professor in the School of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences and the director of the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.
His new paper looks at Canada’s agriculture industry, the types of farmers it employs, the inputs it uses and the value added it brings to Canadian food.
The study looks at all aspects of agriculture from land, infrastructure, supply chains, and research and development.
The researchers looked at five crops: corn, wheat, soybeans, barley, and rice.
Corn, wheat and rice are the staple crops for Canada, while soybeans and barley are staples for the United States.
The Canadian market is huge.
In Canada, corn and wheat are grown in more than two-thirds of all agricultural land.
In the U.S., they account for less than 5 percent.
Canadian farmers can grow corn and other grains on about half of all farmland.
Reigs said that in a globalized market, this is good news for Canadian farmers.
“Canadian farmers are going to have a huge opportunity to compete on a global scale, to grow the kinds of products that we need, like beef, pork, dairy, poultry, and other farm products,” he said.
“The key for Canadian agricultural producers is that we have a strong agricultural research and technology sector and that we are looking to do more research and research.”
Canada’s farmers aren’t alone.
In China, the world’s second-largest food exporter, farmers are getting ready to expand their supply chain in order to compete with the growing demand for Canadian products.
And in Japan, farmers have been ramping up the production of soybeans in order not to compete against rising corn prices.
“Our industry is going to continue to get more and more competitive, and we will be able to grow our food supply on a much more sustainable basis,” says Shunichi Igarashi, CEO of the Japan Soybean Association, who is the lead author of the study.
“With more than three billion people, it is the number one market for soybeans globally.”
And that means Canadian farmers will be more competitive in the future.
Reigl’s study is the first to examine the supply chain of Canadian farmers and the inputs they use.
He looked at the value of inputs in the food they produce and the market for that product.
For example, he looked at how much corn and soybeans farmers produce per acre of land.
Reigen says that’s a lot.
“In other words, the corn and the soybeans are the biggest inputs in agriculture,” he says.
“This is a key piece of our future.”
Reighers research team used an agricultural supply model to estimate the potential for Canadian agriculture’s future.
They looked at Canada as an example, since most of its land is used for farming.
The model assumed that, with about 50 percent of the country’s land, Canada will be a relatively low-input country in the global food system.
And they looked at agricultural production per hectare.
They also took into account that, even in Canada, production can grow quickly as more land is available.
Reiger’s team found that, while the Canadian agricultural sector has been growing in recent years, it’s still not growing fast enough to meet the global demand for food.
In 2030, the agricultural sector will produce about 2.4 million metric tonnes of food, a 7.8 percent increase from 2020.
But it will need to grow by about 40 percent by 2040 in order for Canada to achieve the same level of agricultural output.
That means the sector needs to grow at a faster rate than its population to meet that demand.
Reichs team also looked at inputs to grow crops, including fertilizer, irrigation, soil amendments, and seed.
Reige’s team looked at a variety of inputs, including pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
The results showed that,