Increasing agricultural productivity in Canada is doable: FCC Report

How to make the agriculture industry more productive was the theme of a report released by Farm Credit Canada.

FCC looked at agricultural productivity, which they defined as how much inputs are used compared to how much output is produced. Inputs include labour, capital, land, and material such as fertilizer and feed; outputs include crops, livestock, and other agricultural products produced. The productivity level increases when outputs are greater than the inputs used.

Krishen Rangasamy is the Principal Economist with Farm Credit Canada. He noted agricultural productivity has declined over the last decade-plus. Between 1970 and 2010, productivity steadily increased to a peak of 2.1 percent in the 2001-2010 period; from 2011 to 2020 however, it decreased to 1.4 percent and FCC estimates ag productivity to decline again to 1 percent in the 2021-2030 period.

FCC listed challenges facing productivity: a global population near 10-billion by the year 2050, increasing demand for food; geopolitical tensions, and food inflation which raises “concerns about the ability of food suppliers to meet the needs of a growing global population”; a United Nations goal of zero-hunger; and “Paris Accord commitments to reduce emissions by 6% in agriculture.” FCC’s report states to meet the UN zero-hunger and Paris Accord emission goals, “global agricultural productivity would have to grow by 28% over the next decade, which is about three times the expected rate of productivity growth globally.”

The report goes on to say that Canada “is ready to grow its prominent role in global agricultural markets” as increasing productivity could “boost Canadian exports of agriculture and food products.”

While its already being done, he says precision agriculture and improved irrigation techniques are a few ways that Canadian farmers can increase productivity. Other ways include, but are not limited to, enhanced nutrient management such as the 4R principles, “optimized feeding, animal genetics, and herd management” and “mechanization and automation at the farm level”.

Rangasamy says if Canada manages to increase its agricultural productivity to around 2 percent, it can add as much as $30-billion in net income over 10 years.

You can find the report online at

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