Policy-makers face challenge of figuring out who's going to pay for sustainability measures


When we talk about agriculture and food system sustainability, there are a lot of questions that seem to repeatedly come up, including who needs to collaborate, and who’s going to pay for the real-world implementation of sustainability measures.

Sustainability and food security are intrinsically linked — you can’t have a secure food system if you’re running down the carrying capacity of your existing one, says Al Mussell, director of research with the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI), sitting down with RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney at the Alltech ONE conference in Calgary, Alberta this week.

The complexity of sustainability broadens further when the discussion of trade comes into play.

“Now we have to look back and say, ‘okay, what wasn’t taken up in the price system? How do we re-engineer our free enterprise system to deliver those goods, in addition to what we’ve been doing now?'” he notes.

Mussell explains it’s not going to be enough to produce more food. The agriculture and food sector also has to navigate consumer preferences, and food waste. This brings up further challenges, such as overconsumption, and a lack of consistency in consumer preferences.

Check out the full conversation below, including a discussion on the problem with border carbon adjustments, consumer preferences on tax dollars, and more:


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