GUELPH, Ontario March 28, 2012 – Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) - The recent annual report An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System 2012, published by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada confirms the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s (OFA) position that agriculture is a driving force in Canada’s economy.
The report, released March 26, provides an economic overview of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system, and confirms the sector is becoming increasingly innovative, productive, integrated, competitive and modern. Economic and employment statistics show the agriculture and agri-food industry provided one in eight jobs in 2010 and employed more than 2 million people, an increase of 14 per cent between 1997 and 2010. The industry also accounted for more than eight per cent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a significant contribution to both federal and provincial economies.
“There’s never been a better time to highlight agriculture’s significant contribution to our economy,” says Mark Wales, OFA President. “Our industry has seen nothing but expansion, increased efficiencies and productivity and modernization, and we’re proud to see the report results reflect these positive changes.”
The annual report shows Canadians still enjoy some of the lowest food costs in the world, with food spending from stores accounting for almost 10 per cent of personal household expenditures in recent years. The food and beverage industry also accounts for significant contributions adding value and transforming primary production. In fact, 38 per cent of agricultural production is used as raw material inputs by the food processing industry, making it the most important manufacturing industry in Canada in 2010.
The agriculture and agri-food system is also a major employer in most provincial economies, contributing to jobs and economic activity. In Ontario, the agri-food industry contributes $33 billion to the provincial economy every year, provides jobs for 700,000 people and pays $7 billion in wages.
OFA looks forward to continuing to build agriculture’s economic role by working closely with the new Jobs and Prosperity Council, recently announced in the Ontario provincial budget. The Council will provide advice to the government on a new fund to support productivity growth and job creation in the business sector. OFA will work with the Ontario government to support farm businesses, encourage further productivity and an even greater economic contribution from agriculture.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 37,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.