Newfoundland and Labrador faces considerable challenges in maintaining a consistent and reliable food supply. The lack of locally produced food has resulted in the provinces dependency on imported foods. Transporting this food to the provinces communities relies on the ferry service, which is sensitive to disruption, and thereby contributes to the provinces overall level of food insecurity. By increasing agricultural capacity, the province will be able to create employment, sustain rural economies, and increase local food production all of which will help create a more food secure Newfoundland and Labrador.
The barriers to increasing agricultural capacity in this province include a lack of infrastructure to promote and support labour and skill development; current policies and programs favour large-scale agriculture, and fail to meet the needs of the developing smaller-scale industries that are commonly found in rural areas. The establishment of cooperatives that help small-scale producers share services, such as egg grading and meat inspection, are essential to the development of competitive food production in the province. It is important that government support the creation of a service that will help farmers and entrepreneurs with marketing and delivery of their product.
Increasing agricultural capacity in this province is essential to enabling the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to be self-reliant and food secure. Food security has been shown to be an important part of community health and integral to the prevention and control of many diet-related chronic diseases. Before rural populations further decline due to lack of economic opportunity, it is important that the provincial government seize the growing interest in and demand for locally produced foods and invest in smaller-scale local agriculture.