Agriculture Canada backtracks on alleged nitrogen reduction mandate
Agriculture Canada said that its 2030 emissions reduction target will not contradict its 2025 export growth goal, after all.

Mike Campbell

February 8, 2023

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) said that its 2030 emissions reduction target will not contradict its 2025 export growth goal, after all.

Agriculture Canada backtracks on alleged nitrogen reduction mandate

Last week, documents obtained by True North’s Cosmin Dzsurdzsa revealed the Trudeau Liberals are considering mandatory synthetic fertilizer reductions on Canadian farmers.

The reductions are part of the Trudeau government’s new climate plan, with a focus on reducing nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.

“A number of policy measures could be put forward for consideration beyond just a ‘voluntary agreement’,” said an official. 

Moreover, the documents further revealed the AAFC admitting a contradiction exists between its emissions reduction target on the one hand, and its export growth targets on the other.

As stated in AAFC’s Sustainable Development goals, one is to “Grow Canada’s agri-food exports to $75 billion per year by 2025.” 

Dzsurdzsa’s access to information revealed the AAFC held informal engagement sessions with a group of farmers who said the 2030 emissions reduction target “could result in a decrease in crop yields.” 

Furthermore, the AAFC conceded that “(This) appears to be in direct conflict with the Government of Canada’s export growth target of $75 billion worth of agriculture and agri-food commodities by 2025.” 

However, on Wednesday, the AAFC told The Counter Signal this isn’t a contradiction.

“The focus on emissions reductions and sustainability do not come at the expense of productivity – the two are co-dependent,” the department spokesperson said.  

“Sustainable production will unlock new economic opportunities to provide nutritious and affordable food for generations to come.” 

It further added that the synthetic fertilizer reductions target would not entail any ban or reduction mandate in fertilizer use.

“Any plan to reduce agricultural emissions will not restrict the amount of fertilizer that Canadian farmers use, or limit Canada’s ability to maximize food production. The goal is to enhance farmers’ yields, while reducing emissions.”  

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