OTTAWA, ON--(Marketwired - March 01, 2017) - Total organic agricultural land is increasing in Canada. The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA)'s latest research has revealed 5,053 certified organic operations in Canada, accounting for 2.43 million acres of land.
"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."
- Organic acreage in Canada increased by over 70,000 acres to 2.43 million acres, 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 operations 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.
"Our organic agricultural production in Canada cannot keep up with the exponential growth of the demand, this is resulting in an increased reliance on import organics," said Loftsgard. "Our government must introduce incentives to encourage farm operators to transition to certified organic agriculture."
During the three-year transition period to organic, farmers often experience temporary decrease of yield without benefiting from the organic premiums. Programs to support organic transition and its associated financial risk needs to be put in place. Our largest trading partners, the EU and USA, have organic environmental programs and policies that incentivize farmers to transition to organic. Those programs fit into the WTO Green Box criteria and thus, are agricultural subsidies that are permitted under the WTO's Agriculture Agreement.
About the Canada Organic Trade Association
The Canada Organic Trade Association is the membership-based association for the organic sector in Canada: representing growers, processors, certifiers, provincial farmers' associations, importers, exporters, retailers and others throughout the organic value chain. COTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. COTA brings together the diversity of Canada's organic sector: from farmer and processor to retail, including food products, fibre and textiles, personal care, and emerging sectors such as organic aquaculture.
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