Food is the new oil, even if most of the world — including Canada — hasn’t realized it yet – by Kevin Carmichael (Financial Post – June 9, 2021)

Canada could yet breed a stable of unicorns that shows the wild success of Shopify Inc. isn’t a fluke, but a smart bettor wouldn’t put money on it. There’s too much risk, history argues against it and the landscape is already dominated by better players.

It would be like a wager on the Toronto Maple Leafs getting past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs (smirk). But if not in digital technology, where might Canada make a mark in a post-pandemic world full of angst over the climate and the ability of the United States and China to get along?

Answer: Food. Artificial intelligence gets all the press, but agriculture holds more promise, since it is perhaps the one industry in which Canada will have obvious comparative advantages in the future.

For one thing, Canada’s growing season will get longer as climate change makes agriculture in some parts of the world impossible. Our reputation for being nice might finally become an advantage in global business, because who buys dinner from someone they distrust?

Becoming one of the world’s primary sources of food might even be enough to give us a say on how the world is run. China controls about nine per cent of the world’s arable land, but has to feed about 20 per cent of the population.

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