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Budget 2024 Must Support Rural and Remote Communities Driving Solutions for Climate Change and Nature Loss

Press Release

March 21, 2024

Nature United is calling on the Government of Canada to announce in Budget 2024 an initial $550 million over five years towards a Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains Initiative (SAVCI).

“There’s still a false narrative out there that we must choose between economic prosperity, emissions reduction and conservation. The opposite is true,” said Amanda Reed, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Nature United.

“Healthy soil, water and forests are critical to rural and remote communities that rely on these resources for their livelihoods and well-being. With the right supports, farmers, foresters and fishers can make important contributions to Canada’s plans to reduce emissions and tackle biodiversity loss, while increasing the profitability and resilience of our natural-resource sectors.”

Quote: Amanda Reed

As the Government of Canada prepares to announce a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy and National Biodiversity Strategy, this initiative represents the investments needed across Canada’s natural-resource sectors today, to ensure the vitality of rural and remote communities for decades to come.

Amanda Reed Director of Strategic Partnerships

Modelled on the U.S. Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities program, SAVCI would support a series of farmer-centric, multi-stakeholder collaborations to pilot and scale strategies for advancing environmental, productivity and profitability objectives in tandem. It provides a discreet but scalable means to help farmers transition their operations and to be rewarded for practices that promote healthy and productive soils, and reduce dependence on costly inputs and insurance schemes.

“This is the second federal budget since the Government of Canada brokered a historic global agreement for nature at COP15 in Montreal,” said Reed. “As the Government of Canada prepares to announce a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy and National Biodiversity Strategy, this initiative represents the investments needed across Canada’s natural-resource sectors today, to ensure the vitality of rural and remote communities for decades to come.”

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Solutions must be producer-focused, co-developed with local and Indigenous communities, and embedded in the regional applicability of agronomic, social and economic conditions.

Agriculture represents 48% of the emissions mitigation potential available through Natural Climate Solutions in Canada — the equivalent of taking 8 million cars off the road over a ten-year period. This includes regionally applicable practices such as diversified crop rotations, nutrient management and methane-reducing livestock feed. A growing body of research shows that such practices can increase resilience to drought, flooding and extreme weather events, while reducing crop insurance claims.

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Business-case analysis shows that, while such practices can lead to increased productivity and profitability over time, farmers need support in making the transition. This includes new financial tools, incentives and peer-to-peer learning to de-risk the transition to new practices, as well as data collection and dissemination systems and linkages to new market opportunities to ensure success over time.

Nature United is a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee supporting Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to develop a 25-year Sustainable Agriculture Strategy for launch later this year. Nature United also supported the inclusion of agricultural emissions targets in Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan and measures to mainstream nature and biodiversity targets in the agriculture sector under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Nature United recognizes that solutions must be producer-focused, co-developed with local and Indigenous communities, and embedded in the regional applicability of agronomic, social and economic conditions..

Nature United’s recommendations are in-line with the House of Commons Finance Committee’s recent pre-budget report, which called on the Government of Canada to “strengthen investment in agriculture by partnering with businesses on research, product development and the commercialization of the agri‐food sector” (Recommendation 32), “spend aggressively to achieve the objectives and indicators that will be established under the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy” (Recommendation 36), to “ensure that sustainability initiatives are focused on farmers and help them adapt to the effects of climate change” (Recommendation 41) and to “implement measures to support sustainable agriculture to help Canada become a leader in sustainable and innovative agriculture with a resilient and diversified food system” (Recommendation 42).

Nature United was founded as a Canadian charity in 2014, building on decades of conservation in Canada. Headquartered in Toronto, our organization has field staff located across the country. Nature United supports Indigenous leadership, sustainable economic development and science and large-scale conservation, primarily in British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Manitoba. Our organization is also working to accelerate Natural Climate Solutions at national and regional scales. To learn more, visit natureunited.ca or follow @natureunited_ca.

We are the Canadian affiliate of The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization with more than a million members and a diverse team that includes more than 400 scientists. Our global organization works in 79 countries — either directly or through partnerships — to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press.

Media Contacts

Jacqueline Nunes
Phone: +1 416 526-7353
Email: jacqueline.nunes@natureunited.ca

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