In the November 1, 2011 issue of The Globe and Mail, columnist Neil Reynolds writes about MLI’s recently released study by Larry Martin and Kate Stiefelmeyer on the opportunity Canada has to feed the world. In the study, Canadian Agriculture and Food: A Growing Hunger for Change, Martin and Stiefelmeyer argue that “we are uniquely positioned to benefit from the increasing demand for food due to our vast tracts of arable land, abundant water, infrastructure, and long experience in agriculture.” However, despite these opportunities, Canadian agriculture is in serious decline. Our share of world markets is falling, our agricultural productivity is rising more slowly than our competitors’, and our influence in world trade talks about agriculture is falling.
Reynolds reports, “Mr. Martin and Ms. Stiefelmeyer assert in a compelling paper (Canadian Agriculture and Food: A Growing Hunger for Change) that calls on Canadian governments to look to the future, not to the past, in farm policy. Writing from a global perspective, the authors argue that Canada must heed its moral and economic imperative to do better. Indeed, they suggest, the world’s ability to feed itself in coming decades depends to a significant degree on an agriculturally ambitious Canada.”
The authors note that the primary reason Canada is lagging behind is due to Canada’s backward-fixated regulatory system. Canadian farmers can get more productive only though more capital investment. In the past decade, however, capital depreciation has exceeded capital investment – “which is tantamount to disinvestment.”
Columnist Neil Reynolds concludes, “Mr. Martin and Ms. Stiefelmeyer’s report is an excellent – even inspiring – piece of work. Anyone who thinks that the Canadian Wheat Board will be the country’s final farm reform should grab a copy of the report off the website of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, the Ottawa-based think tank that published it.”
To read the full Globe and Mail article, click here.
To read MLI’s study, Canadian Agriculture and Food: A Growing Hunger for Change, click here.