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FCC reports see growth for Canada’s agriculture exports

Canada is about to strengthen its position as one of the world’s top agriculture and agri-food trading nations, according to a pair of reports issued by Farm Credit Canada.

“Our optimism comes from a unique set of circumstances where demand for both Canada’s agriculture commodities and manufactured food products continues to grow,” said J.P. Gervais, chief agricultural economist for FCC. “The stars are aligned for an industry that is already strong and has the potential to grow in a highly competitive world market.”

Canada was the world’s fifth largest exporter of agriculture and the 11th largest exporter of manufactured food products in 2016, according to the FCC’s trade ranking reports.

“Our reports confirm that agriculture is and will continue to be a major contributor to Canada’s growth and prosperity,” said Gervais, echoing of the findings the Advisory Council on Economic Growth’s report, Unleashing the Growth Potential of Key Sectors.

The landmark report, released in February, notes that Canadian agriculture already employs 2.1 million workers and accounts for 6.7 per cent of the country’s gross national product (GDP).

“I share FCC’s optimism in the future of Canadian agriculture and I am confident that our farmers and food processors are up to the challenge of reaching our target of $75 billion in agriculture and agri-food exports by 2025,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “We will continue to help farmers, producers and processors build their businesses globally with the help of FCC, a strong and stable partner to Canadian agriculture.”

Agriculture commodity exports
In 2016, Canada had the world’s fifth highest total export values, behind the United States, China, the Netherlands and Brazil. Canadian operations exported $24.6 billion worth of agricultural commodities, accounting for 6.3 per cent of the world’s total food exports, valued at $461.8 billion (all trade figures are reflected in U.S. dollars).

The top three exporters (United States, China and the Netherlands) together accounted for 35.2 per cent of world agriculture commodity exports in 2016. Canada fell from third in 2012 due to the growing presence of China and Brazil in world markets.

Canada ranked among the world’s top three leaders in no fewer than 11 agricultural export commodities: canola seed, wheat, rye, oats, buckwheat, flax, plants used for perfumery, crustaceans, pulses, fresh fish and bovine animals (includes cattle and bison).

Canada exports several commodities that were both highly-valued global exports in 2016 and among the world’s fastest-growing exports between 2007 and 2016. These were pulses, soybeans, and fresh fish exports.

Manufactured food exports
Canadian businesses exported $19.1 billion worth of manufactured food products, accounting for 3.2 per cent of the world’s total food exports. Although Canada ranks 11th in total food export values, several of its food exports experienced some of the world’s fastest growth over the past decade.

Total global exports of food products reached $602.5 billion in 2016. The Netherlands, the U.S. and Germany were the top exporters, a ranking they’ve maintained since 2010. The three countries together accounted for 24.9 per cent of world food exports in 2016.

Several of Canada’s top-dollar food exports – beef, chocolate, bread, fruit and nuts, and pork – were also among the fastest-growing food exports in the world. Canada may be particularly well-poised to exploit opportunities to grow exports of canola oil, beef, pork, chocolate and bread.

Aside from ranking Canadian agricultural commodity and manufactured food exports, the FCC trade reports examine Canada’s comparative advantage in agriculture and food exports. This reveals sectors for which Canada has an edge over other exporters.

“When Canada’s reputation as a consistent producer of high-quality, safe agriculture commodities and food products is combined with growing world demand and our comparative advantage on so many key exports, the future looks pretty bright for Canadian agriculture,” Gervais said.

Source: Farm Credit Canada
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