Championing Alberta Agriculture and Agri-Food: Increasing Value-Added Processing and Production.

Agriculture is foundational to Alberta’s economy. Alberta exported over $12.4 billion worth of agriculture and food products in 2020 and the Business Council of Alberta says the economic value of agri-food production and production is $10 billion. Global demand for food  is predicted to increase by 50 per cent in the next 25 years. With the right conditions and changes, Alberta’s agri-food sector could grow and meet this demand.

 

Many in the agri-food sector have identified that there should be more value-added processing and production done in Alberta to get more value from our commodities. There are currently significant barriers to increasing value-added agriculture in Alberta, including, regulatory capacity, confusion about government services, a lack of access to capital for both industry to build facilities and for their municipal partners to build infrastructure to serve them, a lack of robust rural broadband internet, and political leadership not doing enough to champion the sector. 

 

Alberta’s NDP is committed to championing agriculture and working with the agri-food sector to address barriers to growth. We have written eight policy proposals to increase value-add processing and production in Alberta.

 

Our Proposals

 

 

  • Agriculture Navigation Services
  • Increase Staff dedicated to Agri-Food Sector and Value-Added Approvals
  • Create Alberta Value-Add Incentive Program
  • Local Food Incentive
  • Lower capital borrowing costs for irrigation districts and municipalities
  • Bridge the Digital Divide
  • Agriculture and AgTech must be core part of technology strategy 
  • Support and Strengthen Post-Secondary Institutions

 

 

Leave a Comment

Dave Anderson

Posted

Contrary to popular belief CO2 is not a pollutant. Methane - yes, Nitrous oxide - yes, but CO2 is essential for agriculture and plant growth. In many ways the more CO2 we have in the atmosphere the greater the plant growth will be and the more CO2 will be sequestered. As the world is in desperate need for more food, we should not demonize CO2 but celebrate it. Agriculture and forestry should also get credit for all the carbon that they sequester rather than taxed for using fossil fuels. The science has been twisted by those who want to control development.

Dave Anderson

Posted

Great Forum hosted on Nov 3rd. A few comments.... Local food is a great objective but there are too many barriers to producers who want to market locally. Food safety must not be compromised but there has to be a trade-off between the standards that a commercial restaurant or food store needs to meet vs. a home-based business that wants to offer meals or prepared food/beverages for sale. Farm based stores should not have to comply with the same building code as larger commercial operations.

Glynn Williams

Posted

I live in Edmonton. I like the fact that the NDP are making a major effort to improve Agriculture. I would like to some inititive that takes us ( NDP ) out to the rural communities to personally meet with those folks that generate a large portion of our food. The objective would be: o How can we build a better oppotunity for you to produce your product. o What are the current problems you see with Alberta Agriculture.

Kelly Hofer

Posted

I am very concerned with this agricultural strategy. Most alarmingly, there is no mention of policies that steer the industry to a more sustainable and climate change-friendly strategy. It's fair to want to grow the industry and its output, but if doing so is massively dependent on petrochemical and other chemical inputs, as it currently is, then what are we growing? To me it looks like we're growing our impact on the planet and climate, with marginal gains overall. Furthermore, I would love to see a completely vertically integrated packaging system that utilizes mandatory reusable packaging that is easy to clean and reuse for all packaged food goods. A type of packaging made of sustainable and durable materials, that are used for all parts of the food production system, including the end consumers. Food is something we use every day, so there is no reason why the packaging shouldn't be part of a reuse system. And having worked on an 8000-acre farm, I know full well how much packing is produced as a byproduct of food production and farming and consumption, and it's dismaying. Please, please, please develop policies with farmers that benefit the planet, not just the economy. For without a healthy planet, there is no way to have a healthy economy. If you're going to be fighting for Alberta's future, why not make it a sustainable one so we don't self-inflict crisis after crisis?

Denis Gaudet

Posted

The Alberta Government has had a long and successful tradition of conducting its own agricultural research at its various centres at Lethbridge, Lacombe, Brooks, Edmonton etc. The type of research conducted at these Centres has been of the type that is impractical or inefficient to conduct at Alberta Universities and post-secondary institutions. But recent slashing of programs at these Centres has practically eliminated this capacity. We need to review and reinstate these programs if Alberta is to implement it's own agricultural priorities and achieve future agricultural sustainability.

Jan

Posted

Yes, we need to grow more of our own food to ensure food stability, support our farmers ( family farms) in green, sustainable ways.

Kristin Grisdale

Posted

The rural broadband is critical. Options such as Xplore(net) are unreliable. Starling has a high initial cost (apx $700/$800), and great local businesses such as ABnet (subsidiary of Rigstar) need grants to expand and provide affordable, quality service to more rural citizens.

Deanna Maertz

Posted

Another thing that would help would be to reinstate the extension services that have been drastically cut over the last few years. In the US (and previously in Alberta) there are government resources to get access to research results, education about topics that help primary producers, and other things provided by Agriculture Extension Services. Harry Brooke even used to do a weekly radio show as part of his job with Alberta Agriculture, until the cuts hit. These were very valuable to help producers learn how to do different things and to learn new skills and knowledge, hear about research that has been done, etc. As a cattle producer, I find myself going to the US extension websites for information that used to be available on Ropin' the Web in Alberta. The loss of that resource was very bad, yet doesn't seem to be something people talk about! The same services used to exist for Home Economics (which was under Agriculture)- people could learn how to cook different foods, grow gardens, sew and other basic activities that would be very useful, especially in the current economy. These services are sometimes available in big centres, but rarely, if ever, available in rural areas now, if you can afford to pay for them! If properly messaged, providing these resources could be something that would get you support in rural areas.

Mona A Lutfy

Posted

I would like to see seed money for urban agricultural start ups. See what is being done in Montreal, for example: https://montreal.lufa.com/en/ Roof top agriculture is especially possible in a sunny city like Calgary. We need to reduce dependance on food imports and encourage local, affordable food sources.

Jenn Minsos

Posted

Use leftover hemp/grow linen additional hemp to revolutionize compostable food storage for agriculture (hay bales) and grocery (onion bags, lemon bags) when plastic is banned. This should go for textiles in general. The post plastic economy will need this. Let's get ahead of the curve.

Charles Alson Nabors

Posted

I am for it!

Neil Peacock

Posted

starting to head down the right path please read attached breif it may have been done in 2008 but only some players have changed the game remains the same https://www.nfu.ca/policy/the-farm-crisis-and-the-cattle-sector-toward-a-new-analysis-and-new-solutions/

Gary Lund

Posted

The prairies, especially, are prone to periods of drought, and periods of too much rain. If oil pipelines can run for hundreds and even thousands of miles, so, too, can water pipelines. If excess rainfall is captured in large reservoirs to reduce or prevent flooding, that water can provide needed moisture for irrigating distant areas with drought, or nearby areas when drought eventually hits them. Given that we have to build better infrastructure to withstand the effects of global warming, this could be one way to respond.

Kevin Van Tighem

Posted

Ranchers and farmers don't just produce food commodities. Many also sustain habitat for endangered species, maintain wetlands that recharge water tables and offer homes to waterfowl and other wildlife, return atmospheric carbon to the soil where it's safely locked away, and support fish and wildlife we all benefit from. They don't get paid for any of those services; in many cases, it costs them money. At the same time, intensive agriculture compromises many of those values because of the economic pressure to maximize yields. A wise agriculture policy would include payments to producers for the environmental goods and services we all benefit from. From an economic point of view, knowing that there is a steady flow of farm income that isn't vulnerable to changes in commodity prices would almost certainly reduce the stress that some farm families live with. And it's only fair: if you produce something that is of value to somebody else, you should be able to get paid for it. So I'd like to suggest that this be a ninth proposal.

Heather Jean Carpenter

Posted

First thing first Rachel.. need more staff? the government is already too top heavy with civil servants so far detached from the reality of what the Farmers face. Nepotism should be gone. Hire folks with experience and merit . The government has bred a mentality that Civil servants jobs are the most important over all of their constituents. I know that the philosophies that your platform stands on are all wonderful however they are not realistic to the world we live in here. I also understand that if you get back in, you are spending the next two years redoing what the previous party has left for you to clean up.. So let's get real and honest and open with us voters and tell us the truth. Not this bashing of other Political parties here in Alberta. Also how are you going to defend us against the Liberals and their delusions of carbon costs for all of us here? Every Albertan is and will be needing fuel to sustain us here in Canada, we do not live Las Vegas which has 300 days a year of warm weather..

Shah Md Rajiur Rahman

Posted

Would like to know more specifically the application of new technologies (AI, machine learning, IoT etc)