Canada-wide challenges fall within and well outside of the agriculture portfolio

Photo: Debra Murphy, 2017

For all the talk of other government departments having influence on the agriculture industry, it’s important to remember that several challenges within the purview of Agriculture and Agri-Food can have a significant impact on other industries, too.

There are also issues that may be thought of as an agriculture problem, but really have a significant impact on just about everyone — the current container shortage being one major one. As we saw this week, Pulse Canada is spearheading an awareness campaign, Container Crunch, that stresses that a container and logistics mess doesn’t just cost Canada’s pulse industry — it is and will continue to impact every Canadian, and the overall economics of the entire country.

What’s more, this plays into what should perhaps be front and centre of many conversations this winter: the increasing cost of living, including the cost of food. Food banks are already sounding the alarm that their use is set to increase over the winter, as family incomes are squeezed by high energy prices and the higher cost of, well, everything.

Agriculture is one department that has stressed the importance of food security, and this government has been focused on “local” being the solution to food insecurity. But often, the focus on local translates to farmers markets, boutique, artisanal, or niche. Put another way, policy that focuses on local for the sake of local can actually INCREASE the cost of food.

On Friday’s RealAg Radio Shaun Haney, Kelvin Heppner, and I discussed these exact issues. Take a listen: