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From strawberries to lentils: Canada’s diversity in food production & the challenge of self-reliance

Reference: FCC

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated discussion around the supply source of food. For many agriculture products, Canada produces significantly more than we can eat - and we became a net exporter of food in 2019. But we’re also accustomed to eating fresh fruit and vegetables year-round. As a result, trade is and will continue to be an essential component of the Canadian agri-food supply chain.

Building an index to measure reliance on trade
A trade dependence ratio measures the Canadian agri-food industry’s dependence on trade using net imports and exports relative to overall consumption.

A value of 0 means Canada is self-reliant, as domestic production equals consumption (Figure 1). Negative values mean Canada is a net importer, while positive values record a net exporting position.

For example:

A value of -2 means that Canada’s net imports are two times larger than what it produces.
Conversely, a value of +2 means that Canada’s net exports are two times larger than what it consumes.
As expected, Canada is self-reliant in supply-managed sectors where the ratios are near 0.

Figure 1: Trade dependence ratio... Read More