AIC Notes TopIssue 2011-45            December 15, 2011 
In This Issue
Federal Government Funds Green Agriculture Research
Feds to Fund 'Canada Brand' Work for Malting Barley
Second-Generation Ethanol Processing Is Cost Prohibitive
Coordinated Research Helps Canada Meet Greenhouse Gas Reduction Commitments
Rising Food Prices: UofG Economists Predict Some Relief in 2012
Farm Optimism Strengthens in November
Strip-Till Improves Nutrient Uptake and Yield
W. David Hopper: Canadian Played Pivotal Role in Green Revolution
Drought Could Triple and Last 100 Years
Seven Trends Likely to Shape African Agriculture in the Coming Years
Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food
Coming Events

Federal Government Funds Green Agriculture Research 


Canadian farmers will benefit from enhanced profitability through green technology thanks to a partnership involving the Government of Canada, industry and universities across Canada. Today, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), announced an investment of nearly $2 million to McGill University to study and develop greenhouse gas mitigation practices for water management systems.


"Our Government's top priority is the economy, and Canada's agriculture industry plays a vital role in helping to keep our economy strong," said Minister Paradis. "This research will lead to improved economic and environmental sustainability for the Canadian agricultural sector."


McGill University will use the investment to study the greenhouse gas-related effects of various irrigation and drainage production systems for horticultural crops in Eastern Canada. Results of this research will provide farmers with state-of-the-art agricultural water management technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance economic competitiveness.


"It is important that agriculture be conducted in a way that reduces the effects of soil, water and air pollution," said Dr. Chandra Madramootoo, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University. "Innovative agricultural practices can contribute to carbon sequestration and the reduction of greenhouse gases. Our project involves working with producers in Eastern Canada and applying such practices, which will enhance the competitiveness of Canadian agriculture, while at the same time protecting the environment."


Funding for this project is through the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AAGP), a five-year, $27-million initiative that focuses on the development of on-farm greenhouse gas mitigation technologies. The AGGP will provide funding to various partners across Canada to investigate innovative mechanisms, tools and approaches to provide real solutions for the agriculture sector.


The AGGP represents Canada's initial contribution to the Global Research Alliance, an international network of more than 30 member-countries that will coordinate and increase agricultural research on greenhouse gas mitigation and make new mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices available to farmers.


AAFC Press Release, December 9, 2011

Feds to Fund 'Canada Brand' Work for Malting Barley 


Malting barley industry groups are up for over half a million dollars in federal funding to develop a "Canadian Malt Barley Brand."


Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on Thursday pledged over $575,000 from the federal AgriMarketing program for the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC), the Malting Industry Association of Canada and the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute to "maintain existing markets" through activities such as branding, technical marketing and communications.


The branding is expected to help highlight Canada's "commitment to quality" in malting barley and to "allow the industry to use a consistent and common marketing strategy with foreign buyers."


The announcement was made in conjunction with the Alberta Barley Commission's (ABC) annual meeting Thursday in Banff, Alta., where a key topic was the deregulation of the Canadian Wheat Board's single marketing desk for barley, expected next summer through legislation already before Canada's Senate.


"Very soon, western barley farmers will have marketing freedom and control over their own business and our government is making sure they are in the best position to capture future market opportunities," Ritz said in a release.


"Plan ahead"


The one-time lump sum funding is expected to allow the groups in question to "implement long-term international strategies such as international market development," the ABC said in a separate release.

"Barley farmers need markets for their products. The work of groups -- like the CMBTC -- play an integral role in helping us attract and retain those markets," said ABC chairman Matt Sawyer, a producer at Acme, Alta.


Both Sawyer and CMBTC managing director Robert McCaig reiterated, however, that bodies such as the CMBTC need "stable, long-term funding to be able to effectively plan ahead."


"Only through assured multi-year funding contracts can we plan ahead and provide those services, programs, training and technical support that are essential to increasing our world share of the malting barley trade and provide more opportunity for Canadian farmers," McCaig said in the ABC's release.


The AgriMarketing program, backed through 2012 by the Growing Forward ag policy funding framework, is meant to support national ag industry associations and technical marketing support groups to develop and set up long-term international strategies.


Integration of the "Canada brand" is mandatory for AgriMarketing funding.


Country Guide, December 9, 2011


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Second-Generation Ethanol Processing Is Cost Prohibitive 


Costs for second-generation ethanol processing, which will ease the stress on corn and sugarcane, are unlikely to be competitive until 2020, according to a unique Queen's University study.


"This study really lays out in black and white where we are and where we are going," says Warren Mabee, an assistant professor in the School of Policy Studies and Department of Geography. "It should prompt companies to reassess (their processes going forward)."


The researchers found that building large scale facilities for second-generation ethanol production will be more costly than building plants for first-generation production. One reason is the extra infrastructure necessary for significant and costly pre-treatment of items like wood residue and waste paper. These replacements for corn and sugar cane contain multiple kinds of sugar while corn starch consists of pure glucose.


One solution to the high processing costs is companies responsible for just one part of the process, not building huge plants responsible for the entire process, Dr. Mabee said. This will reduce costs by spreading out the costs between more companies.


"This is a real opportunity to reduce the cost of production," says Jamie Stephen, a Fellow at Queen's University Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.


Blended with gasoline, ethanol has the potential to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, but utilizing corn and sugarcane to create ethanol is putting stress on these commodities.


The study was recently published in the journal Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining.


Queens University Press Release, November 21, 2011


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Coordinated Research Helps Canada Meet Greenhouse Gas Reduction Commitments 


Research coordinated through the University of Manitoba's National Centre for Livestock and the Environment is helping Canada meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments as a member of the Global Research Alliance.


Funding announced last week by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, under the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program, will allow the University of Manitoba to further the development of beneficial management practices aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural systems.


Dr. Brian Amiro, the head of the University of Manitoba's Department of Soil Science, explains the goal is to enhance the understanding of how greenhouse gases transfer in agricultural systems and use that knowledge to develop beneficial management practices to help protect the environment and improve agricultural productivity.

Clip-Dr. Brian Amiro-University of Manitoba:
We are focusing on agricultural production systems that are relevant to the prairies.

The cropping systems we'll be working on are looking at the effects of different types of crop rotations and changes to those crop rotations which include things like moving between perennial systems and annual systems.

In addition we have a livestock component that focuses on beef cattle, especially cow-calf operations that are typical of much of the prairies especially in Manitoba.

Our researchers come from the University of Manitoba in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences where we are the lead but we have other scientists from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Waterloo.

We also have collaborators from Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Initiatives, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Texas A&M University, the University of California, Environment Canada, the University of Guelph and the University of Alberta so you can see that we have formed a pretty broad network.

In addition we have supporting organizations who are helping us with this research which include the Manitoba Forage Council, the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, the Manitoba Beef Producers plus we do a lot of work with individual agricultural producer cooperators and they are very critical to the development of our practical applications from our research.

Dr. Amiro suggests practices that help reduce greenhouse gases and keep agriculture economically viable create a win-win situation.


Bruce Cochrane, University News, December 13, 2011


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Rising Food Prices: UofG Economists Predict Some Relief in 2012 


Canadians will get a small break at the supermarket in 2012, as food prices will increase only marginally in the coming year, according to a forecast by two University of Guelph professors.


However, they predict that unstable economic conditions will continue to affect the food industry, with restaurants, food banks and specialty industries looking for ways to reduce waste and improve sustainability.


"The last few years have been challenging for Canadians with less means," said Prof. Sylvain Charlebois, associate dean of research and graduate studies in Guelph's College of Management and Economics. He wrote the 2012 Food Price Index forecast with U of G economics professor Francis Tapon. "Expected food price relief may come as good news for these families in 2012."


The Food Price Index has received significant national media attention, with articles appearing in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Winnipeg Free Press and Canadian Business magazine, among others. Reports aired on Global TV and CTV, and the story was picked up by the Reuters news agency.


The economists predict that general food prices will increase by no more than two per cent on average. They expect an increase in meat prices of about three per cent; fresh vegetables, one to three per cent; baked goods, three per cent; and restaurant meals, two per cent.


The anticipated price increases are much more modest than those experienced this year. In 2011, dairy and eggs prices went up 11 per cent in 2011; fresh vegetables, 10 per cent; baked goods, seven per cent; fresh fruit, six per cent; and meat, five per cent.


The U of G professors had predicted an overall increase of about five to seven per cent for this past year.


Tapon said, "We saw significant increases in retail prices, primarily because input prices went up significantly.


"For 2012, it's expected that input prices won't have as much of an impact as they did in 2011."

The researchers expect that competition in Canadian food retailing - specifically the arrival in Canada of Target stores - will help keep down food prices next year.


Charlebois said that "retail price hikes over the past year have induced Canadians to rethink their attitude towards food in general."


Consumers have been buying foods more tactically, eating out less and limiting purchases of premium food products such as organically grown and fair trade. This pattern is expected to continue in 2012.

The economists base their predictions on factors including climate, economic risks, energy costs, currencies and trade, and Canada's food distribution and retail landscape. They also consider domestic fundamentals such as consumer debt and inflation.


Of these, the economy and climate are the most concerning.


"We cannot remember a period with so much uncertainty in economic outlook and no obvious easy way out," Tapon said. "Food prices will reflect this uncertainty."


For example, European financial instability will continue to affect both retail food prices in Canada and import prices for Canadian food importers.


Climate is the most unpredictable economic driver of food prices.


"It's an important factor," said Charlebois, an expert in food distribution and safety. "Every year, the global agricultural economy witnesses the impact of climate change. Productivity and yields are affected by weather constantly, whether regional or beyond."


University of Guelph Press Release, December 12, 2011


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Farm Optimism Strengthens in November 


According to the latest Monthly Agriculture Business Barometer Index from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), agri-business confidence rebounded to early 2011 levels and is ahead of the national average of 63.7. The Index reveals optimism among its agricultural members increased 6.2 points to 64.5 in November 2011 from 58.3 in October 2011.

"For the first time in three years, we are seeing our farm members' optimism levels above the national average for all sectors," said Virginia Labbie, CFIB's senior policy analyst for Agri-business. "It is also encouraging to see optimism levels on an upward trend from mid-2009 index levels which hovered around the low-to-mid 40's."

"While agriculture is certainly not immune to the global economic challenges of recent months, this is positive news," noted Labbie. "We encourage federal and provincial governments to implement policies that help to improve the overall competitiveness of the sector."

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Agriculture Ministers are currently working to finalize Growing Forward 2, a 5-year policy agreement to replace the current agreement, Growing Forward. Growing Forward expires on March 31, 2013 and the next agreement must be ready for implementation on April 1, 2013.

"As we head into the third round of industry consultations in spring 2012, we hope governments are ready to tackle our competitive challenges and develop policies that will remove barriers to growth in the industry," said Labbie.

In a recent CFIB survey on the Future of Agriculture Policy, farmers were asked to prioritize how governments could improve the agriculture sector's overall competitiveness. The top three priorities for government action included: focusing on regulatory reform and reducing red tape, reducing the total tax burden, and improving market access for Canadian agricultural products.

"It will be important for Agriculture Ministers to ensure their policy decisions for Growing Forward 2 further fuel, not dampen, optimism in the agriculture sector," concluded Labbie.

CFIB's index is measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses' performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance.


AgriLink, December 12, 2011


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Strip-Till Improves Nutrient Uptake and Yield 


The practice of deep banding fertilizer is growing in popularity as more growers turn to strip-till. However, this method may be costing growers more than it is worth.


A new University of Illinois study revealed that strip-till was superior to no-till and increased yield in soybean. However, the results showed no difference in yield between fertilizer application methods.


"Strip-till is usually talked about in corn, not soybean," said Fabian Fernandez, U of I assistant professor of crop sciences. "But the results argue strip-till for soybean would be a benefit, but placement of fertilizer offers no difference for yield."


Researchers compared different combinations of phosphorus and potassium rates applied in no-till by either broadcasting or deep-banding six inches below the surface, and in strip-till by deep banding six inches below the surface.


"Strip-till allows growers to apply fertilizer in a band in the subsurface - it has almost become the norm these days," Fernandez said. "Most growers are deep banding fertilizer if they strip-till, when in reality, there is no need to do this, at least for soybean. Our research shows when fertility levels are adequate, there is no advantage and you can broadcast phosphorus and potassium to achieve the same results."


Fernandez said deep band placement normally requires more equipment, expense and time.


"Phosphorus doesn't move far in the soil. With broadcast application, it tends to accumulate at the soil surface," Fernandez said. "With subsurface application, we saw phosphorus levels decrease on the soil surface. Although subsurface band applications may not increase yield, they could decrease phosphorus levels on the surface which could be an environmental benefit to reduce the potential of phosphorus runoff."


Subsurface banding of fertilizers is sometimes promoted as a more efficient placement method, and some believe the same yield level can be attained with lower fertilizer rates, Fernandez said.


"We observed no evidence to suggest a fertilizer rate reduction can be accomplished with subsurface banding without similar yield declines as observed for broadcast applications," he said.


This research, "No-Till and Strip-Till Soybean Production with Surface and Subsurface Phosphorus and Potassium Fertilization" was published in Agronomy Journal. Researchers include Fernandez, Bhupinder Farmaha and Emerson Nafziger of the University of Illinois.


University of Illinois Press Release, December 12, 2011


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W. David Hopper: Canadian Played Pivotal Role in Green Revolution 


Knee-deep in rice paddies with India's poorest peasants in the late 1960s, Ottawa-born W. David Hopper researched the potential of new varieties of wheat and rice to feed the starving masses. The adventurous agricultural economist might have remained there, unknown to Canadians, but two heavyweights from his homeland came calling.


Former prime minister Lester B. Pearson and Maurice Strong, the newly-appointed head of the External Aid Office, were united in their passion to put some heft in Canada's assistance to developing countries.


In 1967 during the devastating Bihar famine, they went on a fact-finding mission to India, where they sought an audience with the so-called "father of the Green Revolution," M.S. Swaminathan, who had invented hybrid varieties of wheat that led to increased food production. The Indian geneticist asked one of the few Canadians on site to join them.


That lunch, and a subsequent trip to see new hybrid varieties of wheat in the field, altered not only the course of David Hopper's career, but also set Canada on a path to become a leader in international development research.


By 1970, Hopper was back in his hometown as the founding president of a new Crown corporation called the International Development Research Centre of Canada.


Hopper, who died last month in Washington, D.C., at age 84, is recalled as a visionary leader who passionately believed the problems of poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation could be improved with science and technology. He also believed that academics from the developing world should be at the forefront.


"The reason he is so important is because he said the IDRC has the capacity to work directly with researchers in developing countries," says Maureen O'Neil, who led the IDRC from 1997 to 2008.  She said Hopper challenged widespread but ill-founded assumptions that Indian peasant farmers couldn't, or wouldn't, accept the advice of Western experts. She said Hopper believed it was Western experts who had to learn that their ideas weren't always appropriate for the conditions of the developing world.


O'Neil said that Hopper's beliefs have guided IDRC's strategies and practices, making it an enduring leader - "the best in the business" - that has in recent years cemented multi-million-dollar partnerships with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Born in Ottawa on Feb. 22, 1927, Hopper's father was a civil servant. Hopper's brother, Wilbert, would become an executive with Imperial Oil, and go on to be the first CEO of the newly established national oil company, Petro-Canada.


Hopper, however, was drawn to the developing world. He completed a degree in agriculture at McGill University in 1950 and obtained his PhD in agricultural economics and cultural anthropology from Cornell University in 1957.


He spent two years studying the economic organization of a village in India to gather material for his PhD dissertation. He worked briefly as an associate professor in agricultural economics at the Ontario Agricultural College, as well as Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota, before heading back to India to take up posts with both the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations.


He became a disciple of M.S. Swaminathan, who wrote from India last week that Hopper "was a great friend, philosopher and guide to me," adding, "He was an asset ... at a critical time in our agricultural revolution."


Hopper also made a big impression on Maurice Strong. In their 2010 book IDRC: 40 years of Ideas, Innovation and Impact, historians Bruce Muirhead and Ronald Harpelle write that many development experts had spoken to Strong about the importance of agricultural technology but Hopper's "very forceful personality drove the point home." Strong told the historians that he was "quite taken by him (and) he was Canadian, even though no one in Canada knew of him."


In Hopper's statement to the inaugural meeting of IDRC's board of governors, Hopper argued that a staff with a high level of professional skill was essential. "Few circumstances are more aggravating to professionals in low income countries than being asked to accept as a colleague an outsider whose salary is many times larger but whose experience and vocational skills are substantially less than his own."


Hopper surrounded himself by young researchers. Gerald Bourrier, brought on as a deputy director, says Hopper formed a committee of "junior professionals" who would "gather around him to discuss development issues." Some called him the "Big Hopper," after rock 'n' roll icon, the Big Bopper.


In 1970, Hopper spoke of his vision for the future.


"By the turn of the century, when the Centre will be a young 30 years old, the heavy, awkward footprints of astronauts will have marked many planets, and the shape and pace of our life on earth will have changed beyond belief. But by that time also, about 5.5 billion people will live on what we now call the world's "developing" countries. Will their lives have changed, too? We hope so. We hope that through a higher standard of living and economic integration with the "developed" world, they may have the freedom to enrich all of the earth's peoples by the quality of their lives and cultures. And we hope that the International Development Research Centre of Canada might contribute to that."


Hopper left IDRC in 1978 after being appointed vice-president of the World Bank for South Asia. In 1987, he became vicepresident for policy, planning, and research, a position that he held until his retirement in 1989. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Ruth, two children and four step-children.


Shelley Page, The Ottawa Citizen, December 11, 2011


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Drought Could Triple and Last 100 Years 


Severe drought hit portions of the world beginning before 2011 and is projected to continue for many more years in some cases, according to an article published by Scientific American.


The article points to the Horn of Africa as going through its worst drought in 60 years. Other reports are closer to home with northern Mexico in a horrible drought that exceeds that of the Southwest U.S.


As for Africa, "We think we're going to have continued dryness, at least for the next 10 or 15 years, over East Africa," Chris Funk, a geographer at the U.S. Geological Society and founding member of the Climate Hazard Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is quoted as saying.


Fifteen years would be a very short drought compared to earth core sampling data that has shown past drought was extreme continuously for 500 years in upstate New York.


Another ancient history data collection suggests that more than 1,000 years ago significant deforestation throughout Central America reduced rainfall as much as 20 percent and warmed the region 0.5ºC, according to the article's quoting of Benjamin Cook, a NASA climatologist.


The Scientific American article suggests that the frequency of droughts could "triple in the next 100 years, (and) researchers fear the resulting variability and stress to agriculture and civilization could prove destabilizing for many regions" of the world.


Rich Keller, Ag Professional, December 14, 2011


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Seven Trends Likely to Shape African Agriculture in the Coming Years


In a recent research report, titled African Agriculture: This other Eden, Renaissance Capital identified a number of factors that are likely to influence African agriculture in the years ahead. A summary below:


1. Increasing demand from China

China's meat consumption has increased significantly over the past decades. In 2001, the average Chinese consumed around 43 kg of meat every year. Over the following ten years, annual per capita consumption rose to approximately 54 kg, a 22% increase. More meat consumption has led to a rising demand for soya beans - a popular source of feed for livestock.


China, however, cannot supply its own need for soya beans. In 2001, the country produced 15.4 million tonnes of soya beans. This year production is expected to be about 14 million tonnes. Although Chinese soya bean production has decreased, domestic consumption has skyrocketed from 28.3 million tonnes in 2001 to 71.6 million tonnes in 2011. This higher demand has been met through imports.


In addition to soya beans, China's ability to be self-sufficient in the production of other crops is also likely to be reversed in a dramatic fashion over the next few years. Renaissance says that the same situation as what happened with soya beans could play itself out in other grains, such as maize, wheat and rice. The past two years has seen a minimal increase in the harvested area for wheat and rice, while yields for all three grains have also only seen a marginal improvement. Rising urbanisation is putting increasing pressure on farmland.


It is not only China that will import more grains. Similar dietary changes are underway in a number of other emerging economies. As demand rises, internal constraints in a number of geographies are becoming apparent. Renaissance says this is a good opportunity for Africa, which has significant farming potential, to increase its exports of agricultural commodities such as maize, palm oil and other crops.


2. Food security


The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) believes that 70 million hectares of additional farmland is required to feed the world's 9 billion people by 2050. The Americas could most likely fulfil this need alone with Canada, the US, Brazil and Argentina providing the bulk of additional supply.


However, the issue of food security is not only about basic needs and how to fulfil those needs - it is also about the risks attached to achieving it. In common with the oil & gas industry, there comes a point where an over-reliance on too few suppliers for a country's energy needs makes it hunt out alternative sources of energy. A similar need to diversify supply will likely arise in agriculture, and this represents a major opportunity for Africa to provide the world with food security.


3. Resource nationalism


Although resource nationalism is often associated with the extractive industries, Renaissance expects the issue to also come to the fore in African agriculture. Resource nationalism is not always entirely driven by anti-foreign sentiment. High prices help, too. The electoral success of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and the recently elected Sata government in Zambia might never have materialised had it not been for the prevailing high prices of oil, gas and copper over the past decade.


High prices for agricultural goods, the need to secure alternative food supplies and the sensitivities of access to and ownership of land, all suggest resource nationalism in agriculture is likely to become a more prominent theme in the years ahead.


4. Will urbanisation lead to farm mechanisation?


It estimated that 60% (currently 40%) of the continent's population will live in cities by 2050. As more and more workers flood into urban environments and readily available pool of cheap workers disappear from the countryside, farmers are forced into a straightforward labour-capital shift. In short, farms must mechanise if they are to maintain their competitive position.


Smallholder farmers, too, must make a decision: if they dedicate their supply of labour to generating urban-derived income, what do they do with their land? Another way to look at this conundrum takes the form of a question: is the rise of the superfarm inevitable?


5. Superfarms


The rise of the superfarm is a relatively modern phenomenon. There are possibly fewer than 100 industrial groups that own, lease or operate farms of over 100,000 ha.


Do economies of scale exist in agriculture? The purchasing power on inputs or selling power on output that comes with a 100,000 ha farm is likely to be no greater than a 1,000 ha farm. This is accentuated by two factors: first, managing 100,000 ha under a single corporate umbrella is more likely to result in managerial dis-economies of scale; and second: 100 farmers managing 1,000 ha plots each can easily form a co-operative, which will provide them with all the purchasing benefits of the superfarm and none of the dis-economies of scale. However, many superfarms exist because they act as channels for investment capital. In short, while managerial or operating economies of scale might not exist, financial economies do.


Ultimately, the debate over superfarms comes down to money. How does one create a conduit for capital for investment in agriculture? Can smallholders provide that conduit? If so, it would be reasonable to assume they had a future in this most strategic of industries. However, the volatility of food prices, the rapid urbanisation that characterises large parts of our planet, the relative undercapitalisation of the sector and the sheer variability of the agricultural labour force in its current form, all suggest that in creating those conduits for capital, superfarms are likely to play a hugely important role in attracting investment to the sector.


6. Sustainability


One of the overriding issues for humanity is that every civilisation with an urban heartland has been built upon the availability of food and water. In fact, it is the existence of those food and water resources, which has allowed urban societies to flourish. However, over time, every single one of those civilisations, societies and states has collapsed because its depleted and exhausted hinterlands could not supply its cities with their food and water needs.


The collapse of food-supply systems that support urban societies has been a permanent issue since urban centres were founded. Renaissance anticipates a great deal of new thinking on sustainability in agriculture, and expects Africa to lead much of that new thinking.


7. The future of aid


African food aid will likely be transformed, too. Renaissance says that many aid agencies operating on the continent are setting agendas that hamper commercial development. The idea that some aid agencies are seeking to transform themselves into commercial enterprises highlights the new thinking that abounds in Africa. Traditional methods of delivering aid are likely to become redundant in the decades ahead.


Femi Adewunmi,, December 14, 2011


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Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food


The Committee heard witnesses this week on its study on the new agricultural policy framework Growing Forward 2 (Business Risk Management Programs) representing the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, National Farmers Union and Atlantic Grains Council. 


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Coming Events


Canadian Agricultural Economics Society, Growing Forward in a Volatile Environment, Second Annual Canadian Agriculture Policy Conference, Ottawa, January 12-13, 2012


Irrigated Crop Production Update Conference, Lethbridge, January 31 -February 1, 2012 


Conference Board of Canada Canadian Food Summit, Toronto, February 7-8, 2012 


Canadian Organic Science Conference, Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 21-23, 2012 


6th Annual Growing the Margins: Rural Green Energy Conference and Exhibition and 4th Annual Canadian Farm and Food Biogas Conference and Exhibition, London, Ontario, March 5-7, 2012


Canadian Society of Soil Science and Association Québécoise de Spécialistes en Sciences du Sol Joint Conference, Lac Beauport, Quebec, June 3-7, 2012


Joint Annual Meeting of ADSA - AMPA - ASAS - Canadian Society of Animal Science - WSASAS, Phoenix, Arizona, July 15-19, 2012


Joint Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Agronomy, Certified Crop Advisors and Canadian Society for Horticultural Science, Saskatoon, July 16-19, 2012

5th World Congress of Agronomists and Agrologists, Quebec City, September 17-21, 2012 


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Frances Rodenburg, Editor