Both the country's agriculture ministers and representatives of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture are converging on the PEI capital this week.
Agriculture and Forestry Minister Alan McIsaac will be hosting federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz and his provincial and territorial counterparts from Wednesday until Friday. The meeting moves between the provinces and territories, and McIsaac and Ritz will co-host the meeting.
Prior to the start of the closed door meetings on Thursday, the ministers will meet with representatives of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture Wednesday from 4-6 P.M. at the Delta Hotel.
The national farm group has been hosting the roundtable as part of the summer meetings for over a decade. CFA President Ron Bonnett said the session is a chance to facilitate industry-government cooperation and encourage consensus building on key issues. This year's agenda will focus on social licensing in agriculture and ways forward in building trust and transparency with Canada's consumers.
"While each jurisdiction has its own set of challenges and opportunities, we can learn from one another to help create a stronger agriculture sector," McIsaac said in the legislature. "Working together, we can continue to provide effective support to our Canadian agriculture industry so that it continues to innovate and thrive."
The Island minister noted the agriculture and agri-food sector generated $108.2 billion in 2014, accounting for 6.6% of Canada’s GDP. In 2014, the agriculture and agri-food sector employed over 2.3 million Canadians and provided one in eight jobs in Canada. Canada is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food products with exports in 2014 of $56.5 billion.
"Our agriculture sector is an economic driver for Canada’s economy and is ripe with opportunity," McIsaac told his fellow MLA's. "Its continued sustainability and profitability relies on the continued collaboration and partnership of our jurisdictions. I anticipate a great meeting with my counterparts as we outline our continued commitment to Canada’s agriculture industry and our priorities moving forward."
Opposition Agriculture critic Colin LaVie said he was pleased to see the other ministers gathering in the province. he added " That’s what it’s all about is everybody working together to make in agriculture – agriculture is great here on Prince Edward Island, but there’s always new initiatives, always new ways of looking at things, doing things, so it’s great that you’re bringing all the ministers of agriculture right here to PEI. "