CAN: Minister Bragg provides update on food self-sufficiency target and support for agriculture

The Honorable Derrick Bragg, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture, provided an update on the Provincial Government's food self-sufficiency target, efforts to protect and enhance farmland, and ongoing support for the agriculture sector.

Minister Bragg will be available to the media to discuss the considerable progress that has been made to improve food self-sufficiency in Newfoundland and Labrador at 11:30 a.m. today, December 15, at the Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture office at 192 Wheeler's Road, Corner Brook.

Newfoundland and Labrador's agriculture sector has more than doubled the province's food self-sufficiency in fruit and vegetable production, reaching more than 21 percent this year. This exceeds the goal of growing food self-sufficiency from 10 percent to 20 percent by the end of 2022.

Set in 2017, the target is based on the cumulative amount of agricultural Crown land that has been developed and enhanced for fruit and vegetable production. This is the most reliable means of tracking progress and improvement since the amount of land available for agriculture demonstrates a capacity for production, regardless of seasonal variables.

Since 2016, the amount of Crown land developed and enhanced for fruit and vegetable production has more than doubled, from 590 hectares to 1,212 hectares. Farmers are producing traditional crops, including potato, cabbage, turnip, carrot, and strawberries, as well as diversified products such as broccoli, kale, leek, onion, asparagus, canola, wheat, and cranberry.

Newfoundland and Labrador's agriculture sector is 100 percent self-sufficient in the production of fluid milk, chicken, and eggs, and self-sufficiency in beef and sheep production has more than doubled since 2016. The Provincial Government continues to work closely with the dairy, poultry, and egg sectors to continue increasing the amount of locally produced products.

Department staff continues to work closely with farmers and producers to offer advice and support on all aspects of farming, from primary production and food safety to farm business management. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, more than $28.7 million has been invested since 2018 to support 633 agriculture projects, including 50 new, first-year farmers, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Additionally, through the Provincial Agrifoods Assistance Program $2.25 million is allocated annually to support primary production, secondary processing, and land-clearing activities.

"Work in the agriculture sector is rewarding and vital but also extremely challenging, especially in times like these. Current and ongoing global issues affecting the cost of fuel, fertilizer, and grain have affected all Canadian farmers, from backyard growers to large-scale commercial operations. It has taken hard work and dedication to achieve these important milestones in food self-sufficiency and land management. We could not be more proud of our farmers, producers, and agriculture sector professionals who helped get us here," said Honourable Derrick Bragg, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture.

"Working in agriculture can be difficult at the best of times, and farmers have certainly faced more than their share of challenges. I am proud to see that with support from the Provincial Government, our farmers and producers have risen to the challenge to double fruit and vegetable production. Throughout the pandemic and in the face of recent world events and high production costs, farmers and producers continue to prove their strength and resilience and adapt to new challenges in food production. Congratulations to all of you on this important achievement," said Wayne Simmons, President Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture.

For more information:
Government of Canada
www.gov.nl.ca


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