Canadian agriculture exports are continuing to grow which is benefiting Canadians and the rest of the world. That news was shared as the Agri-Trade Equipment Expo in Red Deer begins.
Two reports released by Farm Credit Canada (FCC) show that Canada is currently producing 6.3% of the world’s total food export, which has a value $461.8 billion. That total puts them in fifth in the world behind the United States, China the Netherlands and Brazil.
“The good news story of Canadian agriculture is that exports are quite diverse and Canada remains a major player in the overall export market,” FCC Principal Agricultural Economist Craig Klemmer said. “Opportunities are continuing to build and there is a lot of excitement for the future of Canadian agriculture and processed food manufacturing in Canada.”
Due to the growth of the Brazilian and Chines agriculture markets, Canada fell from third to fifth in world rankings since 2012. Klemmer, however, said this is not necessarily a concern.
“We have had a shift of products and major players have come online. Brazil for example has opened up a lot of land and are putting more products in the export market,” he said. “Canadian agriculture remains very competitive and we are in a good position to continue to innovate; continue to add value and continue to be a major player int he export market.”
Canada’s strength lies in its diversity, according to Klemmer. This means that Canadian agriculture is not solely reliant on a single markets which are subject to market fluctuation.
“We have pulse crops, we have beef, we have pork and a number of other exports in both the ag-commodity sector and food manufacturing sector,” he said. “That bodes well for Canadian ag industry here in Canada and the future.”
He added that Canadian farmers have a firm grasp on diversification and just need to continue on with their three to five year business plans.
“It is just about taking a long-term view,” he said.
Currently the Canadian agricultural sector employs 2.1 million workers and accounts for 6.7% of the national GDP. A strong agricultural sector. However, it goes beyond economics because Canadians also benefit from innovation.
“When we think about the domestic market, a lot of of the product innovation we are seeing is spurred by local demand and Canadian demand,” Klemmer said. “Products that may have been popular before have changed and Canadian food manufacturing companies are taking advantage of that.
“The diversity of Canada is providing opportunities to export these products afterwards that were developed for the Canadian market.”
Klemmer and FCC predict strong growth in the future, something they attribute to growth in ag technology and innovation.
“There is innovation in products that we have when we are talking about ag-commodities, there are new genetics that are coming in, there are new crops coming on, we are seeing more pulse crops coming into the market, we are seeing soy beans move further west than we have in the past and we are also continuing to invest in canola and wheat genetics,” Klemmer said. “All these things bode well for Canadian agriculture and the Canadian agri-food sector.”