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Indigenous agriculture opportunities could boost GDP by $1.5 billion – Farm Credit Canada

Jan 31, 2024

Indigenous people have a long history in agriculture, yet Indigenous participation in agriculture continues to be under-represented.  Increasing participation of Indigenous people into agriculture and bridging the gap in farm income between Indigenous and non-Indigenous farm operations represent a $1.5 billion boost in primary agriculture GDP. Renewed efforts towards reducing barriers in access to capital, equipment, and skilled labour, improved agricultural knowledge and farming methods are paths towards boosting Indigenous agriculture production, promoting Indigenous health, increasing food security, and strengthening Canada’s economic well-being and resiliency.

Indigenous population remains under-represented in agriculture

Data from Statistics Canada suggests that the Indigenous population continues to face large and persistent economic disparities relative to non-Indigenous people in Canada.

According to the 2021 census, more than 1.8 million people identified as Indigenous, representing 5% of Canada’s total population. Relative to the agriculture sector, there were 5,405 Indigenous farm operators out of 262,045 farm operators (2.1%) in Canada. Although this represents a 5% increase in participation from the previous census, there is still a large possibility to expand participation. Indigenous farm operators live in all provinces and territories, with the four western provinces accounting for over 70% of Indigenous farm operators. Saskatchewan has the highest number of Indigenous operators at 1,165 (21.6%) followed by Alberta with 1,130 (20.9%). Indigenous farming operations are more predominant in oilseeds and grains, vegetables, fruits, and other crops including greenhouse production followed by beef cattle ranching and farming.

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