Summary of the Agri-Innovators Committee Final Report
The Agri-Innovators Committee sees great promise in the future of Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. To realize the sector’s full growth potential, we need to maximize innovation capacity across the entire value chain. While many stakeholders have a role to play in advancing innovation in the sector, industry must drive innovation with governments as supporting players.
The main long-term innovation challenge facing the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector is chronic underinvestment in research and development (R&D). To address this issue, concerted action must be taken on the four themes identified in this report. Detailed recommendations are provided.
Simply removing regulations is not the solution to achieving regulatory reform. A continuous process of modernization is required that is aligned domestically and internationally. Regulatory modernization initiatives are critical to enable Canada to signal that it is "open for business".
An Investment Climate Conducive to Innovation and Competitiveness
A pro-business investment environment is a key driver to support industry-led innovation. Overall, economic considerations such as access to capital, labour, markets and technology, along with competitive taxation rates, are important for creating the conditions that encourage increased investment.
To have the greatest impact, governments, universities and private sector partnerships are required to drive innovation along the value chain and across the innovation continuum (from research to commercialization).
There is a changing philosophy among early adopters, with a shift in mindset from a "production focus" to understanding markets and consumer demand. The challenge for the sector is to fully embrace this philosophy. In addition, Agri-Innovator Committee members recognize that the motivation and ability to seize new opportunities depends to a large degree on industry's ability to raise awareness of agricultural opportunities in order to attract entrepreneurs, investors and highly qualified people who can assist in positioning Canada as a global innovation leader.
Overall Committee Recommendations
Committee deliberations on the four themes resulted in the following six overarching and inter-related recommendations:
- Canada needs a competitive business environment to become a destination of choice for investment, especially in R&D and value-added processing.
- A "fast-to-market" mindset among governments, academia and industry is critical to compete in global markets.
- A modern science-based regulatory environment is a key component of a competitive business environment that enables access to appropriate inputs and maximizes global market access opportunities. Alignment across various jurisdictions within Canada is necessary.
- Better coordination, collaboration, and leveraging of resources, as well as a customer-driven focus are achievable through R&D partnerships and clusters involving government, academia and industry.
- Benchmarking is an important tool for understanding our current capacities and assessing them against those of our competitors (for example, adoption of new products, practices, processes and technologies) as well as for ensuring more productive use of existing and future resources.
- Building awareness of the opportunities in the agriculture and agri-food sector as well as explaining the role of modern agricultural technologies, and Canada's robust approval processes for food and novel production techniques will be critical to support an innovative sector.
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