Food is horizontal. It needs a full supply chain view. You've heard from primary agriculture, but really, before agriculture, there are inputs. There are land issues, credit issues, which are not always easy to access. There are pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals, or organic matter. There are lots of inputs. Labour is an input. In Canada, we just finished a study. The current labour gap in agriculture is 58,000 workers. It will grow to 114,000 workers by 2025. We are using many temporary foreign workers, but that's all part of the input to primary agriculture.
You then have many, many products, and you have a great policy for growth in that, and the value-added is fantastic. In trade as well, you're going to $75 billion by 2025. That's amazing. The world needs more of Canada, and we can supply more food. The world population will grow to 8.3 billion by 2030, maybe 9.7 billion by 2050. Canada will grow to maybe 55 million. The world will grow much more than Canada, so we can feed more of the world, rather than internally. That doesn't mean we can't do more locally, or shift from imports—substitution, for instance—to grow those regional economies. There's more trade in Canada than outside Canada in some instances. It's fascinating.
You go along the supply chain, and you get processing as a leading sector, more than automobile in Ontario, for instance. You have retailing, food services, and the consumer. You have this whole supply chain view, which this national food policy must look at. The mandate is an initial mandate; that's how we see it. It was a few words put together right after the election, so we need to add to that, and we need to grow that mandate beyond the wording that's in there now. For instance, it doesn't say “fishers”. It says, “ranchers and farmers”. It's forgetting the sea. That's part of a national food policy too. Canadians tend not to eat very much fish. It's been stable for 30 years. Recommendations in the guidelines are two portions per week. Right now, we're at one portion per 10 days.
It's the same thing with fruits and vegetables. We recommend eight per day. We don't even measure that at Statistics Canada; we measure five a day. The consumption is that about 30% to 40%, to 50% in some cases—women more than men—match the five a day, which is great, but we need to do more.
On industry, you have issues relevant to legislation. For instance, on the fisheries side, there's no aquaculture act. We can do more there. On the Food and Drugs Act, we can get rid of drugs but stick to food. On regulations, we tend to add regulations instead of cleaning the system up. There are ways we can improve our regulatory system and standards.
On food safety, we do really well. I led a report with Sylvain Charlebois which compared 17 OECD countries. We came out on top. We're number one in the world. That doesn't mean there isn't more we can do. We have four million food-borne illness cases in the country and 240 deaths per year. What else can we say? On food safety, we're behind on traceability compared to the Europeans, for instance. We don't rest on our laurels; we move ahead. There is always more we can do.
We've talked about industry and we've talked about prosperity, so competitiveness. Food policy should address the issues of profitability for farmers along the supply chain, the different businesses, so they remain viable and grow. That's what we want, so they contribute to the economy. In the end, you have issues of demand and supply.
We've spoken a little about the supply side. On the demand side, you have issues about health and well-being. I spoke to you about consumption, but we don't have enough data. The last data we have is from 2004, and before that, it was the 1970s. I would highly recommend we do this every five years. It's something easy we can do, and it doesn't cost that much. Food is a huge determinant of health, and the largest budget item is health care. If we can have a healthier population, then we can reduce the costs of health care. Regarding health or chronic diseases, two-thirds of the population are overweight or obese, we have diabetes issues, and we have people who are anemic, vitamin D deficient, vitamin A deficient. There are some forms of malnutrition in the country. It's quite rare.
What you see more is on the energy side, what you call food insecurity, which is a bit different from food safety. It's about availability of the food supply, responding to food emergencies. You saw a lot of flooding, even in Gatineau. Where we live, we had flooding this year. Suddenly, we had people who were food insecure who never thought about being food insecure. Food emergencies come that way.
Climate change is a food issue also, very, very long term. That can affect the growth of crops and where we grow food in the country going forward 10, 30, or 40 years. We're talking about potential desertification, if we look at certain areas in the Prairies. We have to prepare for that. A food policy can help support that
On the environmental and sustainability side, there are soil quality issues: soil erosion, organic matter issues. You can look at air quality issues—the greenhouse gas issue is a big one, as well as ammonia and particulate matter—or water quality issues, such as nitrogen and phosphorus certification, and runoffs from agriculture. It could be a food waste issue, a very hot topic.
I don't know if you know, but one of the things I do at the Conference Board is develop a food report card—A, B, C, D—of how Canada performs in the world. Then I compare all the provinces. Next year, I'm looking at comparing the cities, and I'm looking for funding for that.
When we compare Canada and the world on food loss and food waste, we are among the most wasteful societies on the planet. We're last. Food loss is before purchase, and food waste is after purchase. Consumers represent half of all the food waste in Canada. We need to do a lot more on tools and engagement with different jurisdictions to raise literacy, and a national food policy can support that. It turns out a lot of Canadians can't read food labels, because they have very low numeracy skills, let alone everything else. They can't do the math.
We did all these reports, which fed into the national strategy, and we came out with 62 recommendations and goals. All of these can be useful in your thinking as you develop a national food policy.
You might consider a national food council that is permanent. I would try to avoid political risk. The examples that were given, the Australian national food plan and U.K.'s food 2030, are great, but as soon as the government changed, they were shelved. I'm hoping that this policy will remain viable irrespective of government change.
Thank you, sir.