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Stepping up to Canada’s Agri-food opportunities and challenges through innovation and digitization: new report

Published: November 4th, 2021 By:

Ottawa, November 3, 2021— Canada’s agri-food sector is well positioned for sustained growth, but it will need to build a 21st century talent pipeline that emphasizes digital and business skills.

This new report, Canadian Agri-food Technology: Sowing the Seeds for Tomorrow, explores how Canada can play a pivotal role in global food supplies by leveraging digital technologies to navigate intense competitive pressures, labour shortages, food security and safety, and food traceability.

A sustainable, competitive food and agriculture system is foundational to resilient economic growth. Food production has wide-ranging implications for everything from personal health and well-being to climate change. As the world’s population grows, the global food and agriculture sector will need to produce more while reducing its environmental footprint.

This study highlights:

  • The role of precision-agriculture technologies in producing food more efficiently and more sustainably
  • Controlled environment agriculture, such as greenhouses and vertical farming
  • Biotechnology
  • High-tech food processing in Canada’s alternative proteins market

ICTC estimates that demand in the agri-food technology industry will reach approximately 49,000 additional workers by Q4 of 2025.  If filled, this will bring total employment in the industry to 683,000 workers by the end of 2025.

Canada’s agri-food system is becoming higher tech, with traditional tech occupations showing up as the most in demand. Numerous tech roles are relevant to agtech, including firmware and hardware developers, software developers, data scientists, business analysts, and machine learning experts, among others.

“As the world population continues to increase, the demand for food in Canada and globally is growing faster than what the land and farming inputs can achieve. Developing skilled talent for this growth sector will be critical for unlocking the full potential that digital transformation holds for the agriculture industry,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

To arrange an interview on this study or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at p.stastny@ictc-ctic.ca or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French language press release of this report is here.


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