Yara's Head of Public Affairs and Industry Relations, Jean Paul Beens, was honored as a speaker at a new industry gathering in Saskatoon, Canada.
Agriculture plays an important role in federal and provincial Canada, where it makes a significant contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment, directly providing one in eight jobs, employing 2.1 million people and accounting for 8.0% of Canada’s total GDP.
Export opportunities are critical for the growth of Canadian agriculture. A report published by the Canadian department for Agriculture and Agri-Food, tells us that Canada is the sixth-largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food products in the world (if the EU is treated as a bloc).
The Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI), as representative association of the Canadian fertilizer industry, organized their first international stewardship symposium in Saskatoon in mid-July. Given its success, a second is already contemplated for next year.
"In recognition of Yara's global experience and role on these issues, it was an honor and privilege to be invited as speaker at this international symposium. Clearly our Canadian fertilizer colleagues also support the important role our global industry plays and the solutions it provides, with Yara leading and shaping it," Jean Paul says.
Different national and international aspects of sustainability and stewardship in agriculture were discussed, across eight different panel debates as well as lunch presentations. Sustainability solutions the fertilizer industry can provide were explored and explained, with environmental, social and economic challenges in mind.
Existing sustainability programs such as CFI's 4Rs - right fertilizer source, at the right rate, at the right time, with the right placement - as well as new ideas and research were assessed for their implementation and impact on meeting Canadian and global agricultural challenges. Actors across the whole supply chain - farmers, academics, officials and fertilizer producers - all shared their viewpoints.
"Resolving the nature and complexity of these sustainability problems and challenges is not 'that plain simple' to paraphrase a common local expression," Jean Paul continues. "It requires a global approach from our industry and so I welcome the contribution our Canadian industrial colleagues are initiating. As I learned from Yara Canada colleague Troy McInnis, Canadian agriculture is highly sophisticated and encounters its own challenges for local implementation of e.g. 4Rs."
"With its vast territory, Canada's diverse climate and agricultural sector pose many challenges - but also opportunities - for us," says Yara Canada's Regional Agronomy Manager Troy clarifies. "Our farmers are highly educated, skilled farm managers and entrepreneurs. They are willing to listen and experiment in order to improve, also on the sustainability of their activities."
"Through this symposium Yara received additional public exposure and attention," Jean Paul says. "With the knowledge that Yara will grow in Canada as an integral part of North America, it will require all our skills to turn her plains into an equivalent 'land of opportunities'. However it will not be ‘that plain simple’!"