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3 Frequently Asked Questions about Agri-Food

What is the agri-food sector?

Every day, people across Canada and around the world rely on the agri-food sector for food, fibre, and fuel. Agri-food is a term that combines the words agriculture and food to represent a holistic view of the activities involved in food production. 

The 4 major segments of the agri-food sector:

  1. Crop Producers [including production for crops for fuel (e.g. ethanol) and fibre (e.g. hemp)].
  2. Fishers and animal producers [including livestock raised for fibre (e.g. sheep for wool)].
  3. Food Manufacturers (e.g. companies that process and package food products)
  4. Food and Beverage Retailers (e.g. grocery stores, meat markets, fruits and vegetable markets)1

How big is the agri-food sector?

$100 Billion a year, or 8% of all Canadian produced goods.

The agri-food system is very important to the Canadian economy. As a whole sector, it accounts for 8% of the value of all Canadian produced goods comes from the agriculture and agri-food system. That’s a $100 billion contribution every year! Primary agriculture accounts for 1.7 percent of the national GDP.4

Is the agri-food sector only farming?

When people hear “agriculture” or “agri-food”, they may think of farming only, or the two producer segments. However, the agri-food sector is comprised of the whole journey from the farm to the plate (including manufacturing and retail).

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the “agri-food system encompasses several industries including the farm input and service supplier industries, primary agriculture, food and beverage processing, food distribution, retail, wholesale and foodservice industries.”2

Key Terms:

Farm inputs:
Resources that farmers use to produce their product (e.g. seed, feed, equipment)

Primary Agriculture: 
Activities that occur within farm, nursery, or greenhouse boundaries producing products for market (e.g. flowers, livestock, honey)3

Horticulture:
Production of fruit, vegetables, and non-food plants (e.g. flowers and ornamental plants)

Aquaculture:
The farming of aquatic species (e.g. salmon, trout, mussels).