Canada: new milestones in organic production (IT)


Also in Canada, as almost everywhere in the world, the total organic agricultural land is increasing. The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA)'s latest research has revealed 5,053 certified organic operators in Canada, accounting for 2.43 million acres of land (983,386 ha).  "Canada's organic sector continues to rely on the voluntary disclosure of data by certifiers and provincial organizations. In 2016 we finally have universal participation, resulting in the most rigorous production data yet," said Tia Loftsgard, COTA's Executive Director. "However year-over-year change and inconsistencies remain a risk until a national mandatory data system has been implemented."

The following are the key findings about organic in Canada:

  • Organic acreage in Canada increased by over 70,000 acres (28,327 ha) to 2.43 million acres (983,386 ha), or +1.5%, between 2014 and 2015.
  • Organic areas now account for approximately 1.5% of total agricultural land in Canada.
  • While pasture still occupies the largest share of all organic acreage, its proportion has decreased from 65% to 63.8% primarily due to significant increases in vegetable & root crop acreage, as well fruit & nut acreage.
  • In 2015, Canada imported at least CAD$652 million worth of organic products, representing a 37% increase from 2012.
  • There are 5,053 certified organic operators in Canada, over half of which are in Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
  • Of the certified operations, there are 4,045 primary producers, 618 livestock operations and 1,542 processors, manufacturers and retailers in Canada.

Despite the growth of Canadian organic acreage in recent years, demand for organic is significantly outpacing supply. Organic retail sales in Canada are now worth CAD$4.7 billion annually, a 13.6% growth per year since 2007, while organic production is experiencing much slower growth. According to COTA’s president, the organic agricultural production in Canada cannot keep up with the exponential growth of the demand, and this is resulting in an increased reliance on import organics. Thus the request to the government to introduce incentives to encourage operators to transition to certified organic agriculture also through financial support, as during the three-year transition period to organic, farmers often experience temporary decrease of yield without benefiting from the organic premiums. So, programs to support organic transition and its associated financial risk needs to be put in place.

Source: Freshplaza Int.