The federal, provincial and territorial ministers of Agriculture have reached an agreement in principle to boost funding for agriculture-related environmental projects by $500-million as part of the five-year Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership running till 2028.
The new funding will bring the total funding envelope to about $3.5-billion, along with increasing the cost-shared portion of the provinces by 25 per cent in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 to 5 megatons over the next five years.
In addition, the agreement will include a $250-million Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program that aims at supporting goods and services provided by the agriculture sector.
The agreement will also raise the compensation rate of business risk management program AgriStability from 70 per cent to 80 per cent.
In a statement released last week, Farmers for Climate Solutions (FCS), a national farmer-led coalition, considered the agreement a positive signal toward a more sustainable agricultural system. However, FCS has asserted that it failed to define the necessary measures to strengthen the Canadian agriculture sector’s resilience.
“There are some positive things, like a commitment to setting a target for greenhouse gas emission reduction and some new money to fund climate and environment initiatives, but overall, the agreement falls well short of what we are hoping for,” said Brent Preston, director of FCS and a farmer in Creemore, Ont.
Mr. Preston described the proposed emissions reduction target as insufficient and said FCS alternatively recommended a solid plan to reduce agricultural emissions by 14 per cent and increase carbon sequestration over the next five years.
“The government’s target through this agreement is 3 to 5 megatons. It’s at best a third of what we think is possible,” he said. “We think there needs to be a more ambitious target for greenhouse gas emissions reduction.”
The Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership will enhance Canada’s position as a world leader in sustainable agriculture and agri-food production, said Cameron Newbigging, a spokesperson for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in a written statement to The Globe and Mail.
“The new agreement includes stronger performance measurement and results reporting, including targets such as a 3-5 [megaton] reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, increasing sector revenue and exports, and increased participation of Indigenous Peoples, women, and youth,” Mr. Newbigging said.
He said the new agreement will move forward with the five priorities agreed to in the Guelph Statement to ensure that Canada’s agriculture sector remains innovative and sustainable.
“It will enable an innovative and productive internationally competitive sector that can continue to feed Canada and a growing global population at a time when rising costs and global food security are significant concerns,” Mr. Newbigging said.
Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.