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Canada falling behind in clean agriculture investments: report


A new report published by RBC shows Canada’s agricultural producers aren’t getting the same support in embracing climate-smart agriculture as in other top food producing countries.

Experts see this as a growth opportunity for the sector that already makes up about seven per cent of Canada’s GDP.

But the authors of the report believe investment into clean agriculture needs to increase quickly.

“The agriculture sectors in the US, EU, Australia and China gets roughly three times the climate funding as Canada gives to its industry. Yet the expectations placed on our farmers are growing to produce more in increasingly adverse weather conditions,” said Mohamad Yaghi, agriculture and climate policy lead at RBC climate action institute.

Currently, agriculture accounts for roughly 10 per cent of all green house gas emissions in Canada.

But Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute at Guelph University, believes promoting carbon insets and offsets, using methane to produce biogas, no-till farming and more can help slash emissions.

“Properly incentivized and with the right kinds of investments, agriculture can absorb as much has 25 percent of our country’s green house gas emissions by 2050,” Fraser said.

“So it can be a massive player in what we sometimes call net-zero or dealing with the climate crisis.”

Adopting new cleaner technologies and practices can pose a financial burden to producers, but eventually most producers will make more money.

Getting a return on investment for many climate-smart options may not take as long as producers think.

“Most of the policies we looked at would actually pay themselves back in four to 10 years, depends on the policy depends on the recommendation, time frame,” said Fraser.

Experts believe farmers will be open to adopting new environmentally friendly practices, but governments will need to provide more funding to lessen the financial risks for producers and tech start ups working on cleaner farming technologies.

“Farmers, they have incentives to use and adopt them. But sometimes it doesn't work,” said Chandra Singh, senior research chair at Lethbridge College. “So some farmers they are willing, but if you're trying something then it fails. Then who is going to take the risk.” Top Stories

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