From the discussion, it became clear that the industry experts agreed with the major findings and recommendations from the CORE report. A significant agreement between the participants was that BC has no common roadmap guiding the sector towards decarbonization, nor an instrument for accounting agriculture’s carbon emissions, one is urgently needed, and this poses a critical area of opportunity.
Carbon sequestration through regenerative agriculture practices could be an opportunity for the agriculture industry to lead the way toward the province achieving CleanBC goals. The integration with the supply chain of different industries can also be crucial for the GHG reduction target.
According to the experts, when compared with other countries, Canada has a big asset: its abundant land that can be capitalized, but it should be done in a sustainable way and in hand with the development and widespread adoption of carbon accounting mechanisms. The challenge remains in finding a way to do this in both a productive and sustainable way.
Another significant discussion point concerned the thin profitability margin farmers have, and how that constrains technology adaptation and innovation. An individual farmer taking on an innovation project or piloting new technology may be at financial risk, as these actions can be complicated and costly. The panelists agree with the recommendations in the report that capacity building programs are necessary and that subsidies and technology can step in as well as a proper regulatory framework.
Consumers and market conditions play a critical role in the path to decarbonization; informed and engaged farmers and consumers are very important for getting clean and green practices more widespread. An interesting approach is developing educational networks through “open farm” concepts that are spreading knowledge.
The panellists agreed that the CORE Cluster can contribute to guiding the industry towards decarbonization by providing a platform for different stakeholders and expertise to collaborate, share experience, and exchange efficient solutions.
Thanks to our panels Corine Singfeld, farmer, researcher and advisor at Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC and Greg Stewart from Ecoation.