Canada is the world’s fifth largest exporter and exports over C$56 billion of agricultural products each year including meat, wheat, canola and legumes. A recent paper published by the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary shed light on the way COVID-19 affected the agriculture sector in Canada and how we can prepare for the future.
COVID-19 changed the market in major ways such as the shift of meals to at home dining as opposed to going out. I’m sure you remember the line-ups at grocery stores and the shelves being half empty. Ingredients such as flour and rice were gone in matters of weeks. Canada also faced challenges in food-processing however those problems were quickly fixed. Although some ingredients were scarce, Canada proved resilient amongst the pandemic.
As the pandemic continues experts predict that some countries may impose restrictions. This isn’t necessarily negative and could actually cushion Canadian producers by driving up the price leading to more profit (Yeung, May and Kerr, 2021).
So, what’s next and how can Canada prepare for the future? Canada proved resilient despite the pandemic however there is always room for improvement. To take advantage of the future opportunities it is important for the government to:
· Provide income protection and short-term financing for farmers, ranchers and processors who were affected by COVID-19.
· Prepare for future crises. We may not have another COVID-19 crises anytime soon but we may face other disruptions.
· Build and foster international relationships to gain access to foreign markets.
· Monitor the export markets and fund research into opportunities.
The future holds many opportunities for Canada in the agriculture sector and with the above implications our country can continue its resilience. It is important to continue researching opportunities and investing in our farmers.
Resource: Yeung, May and Kerr, William A., Canadian Agri-food Export Opportunities in a Covid-19 World (February 4, 2021). The School of Public Policy Publications, SPP Briefing Paper, Volume 14:5, February 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3789229