Canadian farmers have had to drastically cut back on fertilizer use, affecting crop yields and threatening food security. 30 percent Agricultural experts say it will drop below 2020 levels by the end of the decade.
speak in McDonald Laurier Institute webinar,”More food or less fertilizer? Policy pain in Canada’s agricultural sector,” said Günther Jochum, president of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, who said Canadian farmers were already near-maximizing their fertilizer efficiencies.
“We are already very efficient, so at this point I don’t think we can reduce fertilizer emissions without actually reducing fertilizer,” said Jochum.
The federal government’s voluntary 30% fertilizer emission reduction target is part of Canada’s Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act. schedule To achieve “net zero emissions” by 2050.
The government argues that the ambitious 30% target will not be enforced and that farmers retain the right to choose whether to use less fertilizer.
“The purpose of the national fertilizer target is to reduce emissions, not to force a reduction in fertilizer use,” Agriculture Canada (AAFC) wrote in an earlier email to The Epoch Times. I’m here.
But in his webinar address, Jochum said that according to the government’s own National Inventory Report, Canadian farmers are already 99.1% efficient in using fertilizers, and there is room for further reductions unless they cut their use directly. He says there aren’t many.
“So we’re talking about the last point, 0.9%,” he said. “And how can he get 30% emission reductions from 0.9% efficiency in the end? That’s pretty hard.”
National emission reduction schedule says Canada’s fertilizer emissions have increased 60% since 2005 and are “projected to continue to increase.”
Jochum said he fears a 30% cut over eight years is too ambitious.
“I am very worried if I can achieve them [emissions] We will reduce it,” says Jochum. “We are already very efficient because of the different crop types and regions we use.”
Karen Proud, CEO of Fertilizer Canada, said the emissions targets set by the government are too early to reach without farmers reducing their fertilizer use.
“Can we use today’s technology to reduce emissions to the levels governments want without impacting yields in today’s environment? I think the answer is no,” said Proud. .
Alana Koch, executive director of the Global Institute for Food Security, said fertilizer reduction, which she called one of the most important tools for increasing crop yields, could quickly lead to food shortages. said to cause
“Global fertilizer supplies are already under dire pressure,” said Koch, citing the impact of Russian sanctions on global fertilizer and wheat supplies.
“So we can’t [accept] In fact, anything that interferes with food production. We should consider encouraging it. ”
Jochum added that Canada’s agroclimate plan is very similar to that of the European Union (EU).Farm-to-table strategyThis aims to radically reduce manure emissions and livestock numbers across Europe.
“It’s very messy,” he said. “Because it’s not really based on science. It’s based on specific interest groups, leaving scientists and farmers on the sidelines.”
‘Huge economic impact’
Sylvain Charlebois, one of the webinar panelists and a professor and researcher in food production at Dalhousie University, said the government’s proposed emissions targets depend not just on Canada’s food supply, but on Canada’s food exports. He said it will affect countries where
“We are talking about national food security, but we are also talking about global food security,” Charlevoix said, adding that the government’s emission reduction policy, as it is currently It will not weaken and strengthen the sector,” he added. ”
Koch also touched on the issue, saying that emission reduction plans would have an “unintended overall negative impact” on food production and yields.
“We will see a significant economic impact,” she said, adding that “a broad target of reducing fertilizer emissions by 30% by 2030 will certainly lead to lower yields.” .
Jochum added that he was skeptical about voluntarily maintaining emissions reduction targets because the government has backed off from pledges in the past.
“Now they say it’s a voluntary reduction in emissions,” he said. “maybe, [or] Maybe they’ll change their minds by this fall. I may change my mind next spring. It is very difficult to judge and very difficult to trust the current government. ”
“Where is the government going with this? Why are they bullying [Canadian] Food production, some of the most efficient and highest quality food producers in the world?” Mr Jochum asked. And what should the government get? ”