Competitive Transition Analysis Group – RECOMMENDATIONS
In generating recommendations for alignment of current and future programming with the pillars of competitive transition as directed in its terms of reference, CTAG considered broad industry needs, and the current programming and services offered both within the NSDA and available through other agencies. In addition, CTAG’s approach focused on balancing resources among the three pillars. Generally, most of the resources, programs and services required to achieve competitiveness are already in place. A greater effort in communication and dissemination of information is needed to increase the effectiveness of these resources.
- Build an effective and equitable extension model across the province. This requires an examination of the level of services currently being delivered.
- Provide industry and staff with both formal and informal business and marketing skill training, in the areas of business, financial management, human resource management, marketing, and understanding and capturing value-chain opportunities.
- Direct resources toward a central pathfinding/navigation service that will link producers to experts, programs, services and funding.
- Coordinate efforts to reduce regulatory barriers and streamline development of agri-business opportunities.
- Enhance investment in local market opportunities and support procurement policies that encourage local food consumption.
- Reduce barriers to trade inter-provincially to facilitate market access in the region.
- Review and examine the role of the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board in financing growth opportunities for agriculture; in particular within the context of the Board defining its niche in relation to commercial banks and the Farm Credit Corporation.
- Support programs must be simpler to understand and access. Support must be provided to guide applicants through the process.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of cross-compliance program requirements with attention to objectives and resulting outcomes.
Strategic Public Investment
- Facilitate investment in processing infrastructure where business case indicates markets and value-chains currently exist or are demonstrated to have potential.
- Facilitate the development infrastructure to enable direct marketing systems including storage capacity, transportation and distribution systems, and direct marketing venues.
- Support participation of all employees in activities and events that build their agricultural knowledge and relationships with Nova Scotia’s producers and agribusinesses (e.g. farm tours, farm site visits, etc.).
- Appoint a working group to identify production skills needed in growth areas of the industry and develop a strategy to address these needs. The working group should include representatives from NSDA, NSFA, NS Labour and Workforce Development, NS Department of Education and Office of Immigration.
- Improve communication between and among its branches and divisions, and with other government departments and NGOs.
- Collaborate with the Office of Immigration and NS Department of Economic and Rural Development to promote agricultural opportunities and agriculture as a career, and to attract immigrants to the agriculture/agri-food industry in Nova Scotia.
- Develop a research and innovation policy which encourages the industry’s involvement in the development of research proposals, and facilitates the communication of results to all stakeholders.
- Direct additional support for research into emerging opportunities for value-chain development, adaptation of new technologies, and commercialization of agri-based innovations.
- Establish an innovation and commercialization center for agriculture which can attract a critical mass of innovators and valued added prospectors to the agriculture sector.
Public Goods and Services
- Define what the public values and agriculture’s role in delivering goods and services to address public values.
- Develop partnerships with the industry to facilitate new economic opportunities related to agriculture’s capacity to address climate change (e.g. development of carbon-trading and green energy models based on agriculture systems).