Help the Economy
Where you buy your daily servings every week has a big impact on the Canadian economy. The numbers show only agri-food, especially organic; can replace the tar sands and housing-speculation as engines for economic growth in Canada.
Exports of food are not as profitable as selling to consumers because the farmer receives much more money from direct sales. It is not just the farmer who benefits. The latest census report for BC agriculture (2016) notes that agriculture contributes about 0.6% to the GDP of BC but this grows to 3.4% when you include food processing, warehousing and transportation and retail food sales.
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Farm and Farm Operator Data
Small farms and direct marketing play a large role in British Columbia
an excerpt from this StatsCan report is below
Primary agriculture represented 0.6% of provincial gross
domestic product (agricultural GDP) in 2013. This increased
to 3.4% when agricultural input and service providers, primary
producers, food and beverage processors, and food retailers and
wholesalers industries were taken into account (Statistics Canada.
2013. Special tabulation, based on 2013 gross domestic product
by industry- provincial and territorial).
That means that from farm to consumer (field to table), the economic multiplier effect of the agri-food supply chain is around 5x (.6 to 3.4). Compare this to the oil and gas sector with an economic multiplier of 1.98X plus massive pollution that is not cleaned up or paid for.
People do not have to wait for governments or big corporations to lead the way on this. We can do this with our own resources, as Canadians have had to do before in tough times eg the Great Depression of the 1930’s, the War of 1812 in southern Ontario .
In Canada, agri-food produces more economic activity eg jobs, then inflated real estate or polluting Tar Sands. Why are these facts not better known? Why are we wasting money on buggy-whip industries with zero future growth potential, as shown by global disinvestment in these areas?
Agri-Food is complex and invisible to consumers. There is no big project that politicians can stand in front of for the cameras. The only news people hear is farmers complaining their prices are too low. Does anybody see farming as a dynamic part of the Canadian economy?
The 2016 census summary for BC agriculture shows that an increasing number of young people see producing food as a good way to make money. For the first time in 29 years (since 1921) the number of BC farmers under 35 increased.
Does farming have a bright future in BC? YES! We are going to explore this more in future posts because small is beautiful and productive and profitable.