Canada’s seafood farmers, ranchers and agri-food producers pledge to develop food systems that serve people and planet as world leaders meet at historic UN Food Systems Summit
Canada’s seafood farmers, ranchers and agri-food producers have pledge to stand united to advance the nation’s leadership role in the production of safe, sustainable and nutritious food as 85 world leaders gather today for the UN Food Systems Summit.
The historic Summit, which takes place during the UN General Assembly, follows an 18-month process in which 148 countries have hosted national dialogues with key players at every stage of the food system to develop national strategies for more inclusive, resilient and sustainable food systems.
“After 18 long months, the world is on the brink of a Summit that aims to change the trajectory of global progress, uniting everyone in a shared commitment to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals and the fundamental human rights at their core,” said Agnes Kalibata, UN Special Envoy for the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS).
Along with national strategies, the Summit is set to launch joint initiatives and coalitions, which include pledges to ensure healthy and nutritious meals for all schoolchildren, reduce food waste and unlock agricultural innovation to deliver on climate goals.
“The UNFSS has given our Canadian Agri-Food sector the opportunity to reflect and celebrate our shared advancements and achievements in sustainability, innovation, and the production of safe and nutritious food, said stakeholders in the Canadian agri-food industry.
The UNFSS provides the platform to look forward and together chart an inclusive, multi-stakeholder and systems approach for the future of food, they said.
The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) said Blue foods – especially farm-raised seafood – are a burgeoning component to meet the world’s demand for healthy and low-carbon proteins.
“Our commitment to producing the best quality farm-raised seafood in the world is backed up by leading international certification and forward-looking sustainability commitments. Canada’s seafood farmers stand with the Canadian food community in our dedication to excellence,” said Timothy Kennedy, President & CEO of CAIA.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada said the resilience of our food system is critical to ensuring food security for all Canadians.
“As stewards of the land, dairy farmers from coast-to-coast have always been world leaders in sustainability and are committed to remaining so in the future…We endeavour to provide Canadians with a steady supply of high-quality nutritious milk, produced in accordance with the highest standards in the world,” said Pierre Lampron, President, Dairy Farmers of Canada.
Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture said the UNFFS allows Canada and the world to share its successes and work together to accomplish even more on this critically important front.
“Canadian agriculture has incredible potential as a natural climate solutions provider, and our sector has been making impressive strides for decades in terms of our GHG footprint relative to our productivity,” she said.
“We hope to see the Canadian government, and governments around the world recognize and harness the immense potential that our sector represents.”
CANADIAN AGRI-FOOD FAST FACTS
- Canada’s agriculture and agri-food is a major contributor to the Canadian economy responsible for one in eight Canadian jobs and over seven percent of Canadian GDP (2018).
- Thanks to innovative best practices and technologies, agricultural production in Canada has doubled over the last 22 years while emissions have remained relatively stable.
- Canada is home to the first certified sustainable beef program in the world, the Canadian beef industry has a goal of increasing carbon sequestration in grasslands by 3.4 million tonnes per year by 2030. Beef cattle also upcycle food that would otherwise be wasted, such as fruits and vegetables that are no longer suitable for grocery stores, grain by products, and more.
- Turkey farmers reinvest in their farms and industries by way of world-leading research, innovation, food safety, and bird care. Improvements to feed efficiency over 40 years are reducing the carbon footprint of turkey production. Now, 33 per cent less feed is needed for every pound of turkey meat produced. This is the direct results of improvements along the supply chain, such as improved feeding programs, selective breeding and on-farm management programs.
- In the last 40 years, the carbon footprint of the Canadian chicken sector was reduced by 37 per cent, and water consumption has been reduced by 45 per cent.
- 62 per cent of the Canadian chicken sector’s total energy use comes from renewable sources, with chicken feed accounting for the bulk of renewable energy consumption.
- Canada’s seed industry is continually innovating towards increased sustainability. Technologies like gene editing can help plants capture and store more carbon, reducing excess carbon emissions by up to 46 per cent.
- Without crop protection products and plant breeding innovations Canadian farmers would need 44 per cent more land to produce what they do today (that’s roughly the size of all the Maritime provinces combined).
- Over a 30-year period, agricultural soils went from being a minor source of emissions, at 1.1 million tonnes in 1981, to being a significant sink and absorbing 11.9 million tonnes from the atmosphere in 2011.
- Nutrient use efficiency on Canadian farms exceeds the world average and ranges between 66 per cent and 78 per cent. Canada is accomplishing this while also increasing productivity as a net positive contributor to world food security helping to meet the UN SDG #2 Zero Hunger goal.
- Canola fields provide habitat for over 2,000 beneficial insects, including native pollinators, honeybees, spiders and beetles.
- Canada’s major ocean-farmed salmon production is 100 per cent certified to global sustainability standards, and Canada’s seafood farming sector uses only 1 per cent of viable coastal area.
- Among the lowest carbon footprints for dairy in the world: producing one litre of milk in Canada emits less than 1/2 the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as compared to the global average.
- Over the past 50 years, Canadian egg production has increased by 50 per cent, while the industry’s environmental footprint decreased by almost 50 per cent.
(Image – Agnes Kalibata, special envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit – courtesy of the FAO).