Breadbasket 2.0

Background

For many years the Prairie Provinces have been known as Canada’s breadbasket, reflecting the richness of the soil and the advantageous climate conditions that produces a large agricultural surplus. Not unlike the Rice Bowl of Southeast Asia, the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta contribute significantly toward the value of Canada’s exports. The agri-food industry alone brings close to $45 billion to the farm gate annually, with crops accounting for 50% of this amount.

With the growing middle-classes in China, India and the broader Asia-Pacific region, together with the attendant demand for food throughout the developing world, we pose the following questions:

  1. What is the capacity of Canada to help feed the world’s growing population?
  2. Could Canada’s land base, crop nutrients and leading crop production methods feed another one billion people? Two billion people?
  3. What is the potential of innovation (in primary production) to leverage this capacity?

While these challenges have not been lost on agricultural producers, the notion of Canada as today’s leading ‘breadbasket’ of the world is a vision that needs new attention. We propose that this discussion be framed as Breadbasket 2.0 – to reflect a new or renewed vision for Canada in an innovation-based, expanding global economy.

 

The Breadbasket 2.0 project includes:

1) Strategic Framing Paper –The Forum has prepared, in partnership with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the partner provincial governments, a research synthesis paper for use as a base document to frame the project.

2) Roundtable Discussions: Three roundtables were held in each prairie province in March 2013. Each roundtable addressed the general themes of production and innovation, but with additional focus on one or two distinct thematic issues. The outcomes of these discussions can be found in the Roundtable Discussion/Event Report.

3) Summit: A major conference (summit) will be convened June 17th and 18th, 2013 in Saskatoon, to share the results of the roundtable discussions, consolidate research findings, leverage the network of involved experts, and develop preliminary policy recommendations.

4) Final Report and Recommendations: A final report will be prepared that will consolidate the findings from the strategic policy paper, background papers, roundtable discussions and the summit. The report will offer a series of action recommendations in the form of “what should change” targeted at governments, institutions and companies.

5) Executive Briefings: Following the summit, a series of executive briefings will be given to federal and provincial governments. Briefings may also be given to agricultural associations, cooperatives and other organizations.