Key strategies

Agri-food Investment and Growth Strategy

An integrated 3-pillar strategy that builds on the sector’s existing strengths to capitalize on emerging opportunities for growth.

Overview

The Agri-food Investment and Growth Strategy is an integrated 3-pillar strategy to grow our way to an even brighter future by building on Alberta's strong foundation as a major supplier of high-quality agricultural products.

We are taking action to amplify Alberta’s first class reputation for high-quality agricultural products and increase capacity to help meet the global demand. Investment attraction is essential – investments into Alberta’s agri-food industry will support modernization and expansion projects, expand business opportunities, increase our exports globally and create up to 7,300 direct and indirect jobs.

The Agri-food Investment and Growth Strategy sets aggressive growth targets to fulfil commitments in the Investment and Growth Strategy and supports Alberta's Recovery Plan.

Strategy pillars

The Agri-food Investment and Growth Strategy is an integrated 3-pillar strategy that builds on the sector’s strong foundation to capitalize on emerging opportunities for growth.

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    Investing in value-added agricultural processing capacity

    Alberta has set targets to grow value-added processing capacity by attracting $1.4 billion in investment over the next 4 years, creating about 2,000 jobs in the province. Raising Alberta’s profile as an attractive investment destination in global markets is a key outcome of the Investment and Growth Strategy. Increased investment will help expand the agri-food industry by supporting product development, increasing provincial exports and creating jobs.

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    Increasing agri-food exports

    Market access advocacy and strategic market development by new agriculture-specific staff at Alberta International Offices will help grow our export access. Increasing exports to global markets will ensure sustained industry growth, providing stable jobs for Albertans.

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    Expanding irrigation

    Modernizing and building new irrigation infrastructure will increase irrigated acreage, water storage capacity and primary crop production, improve water use efficiency, enhance water security and provide flood protection to support the agri-food industry for the long-term.

Growth targets

The Agri-food Investment and Growth Strategy identifies 4 key targets to continue growing and diversifying Alberta’s economy, strengthen our workforce and build for the future.

Attract more than $1.4 billion in new investment and create 2,000 new jobs by 2023.

Grow primary agriculture commodity exports by 7.5% per year.

Grow value-added agriculture products exports by 8.5% per year.

Grow primary and value-added agricultural exports to a projected $16 billion by 2023, a 37% growth relative to 2019.

Opportunities

The Agri-food Investment and Growth Strategy capitalizes on key opportunities to meet growth targets set to attract investment, grow the agri-food industry and create jobs.

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    Aggressive investment attraction
    • Attracted $886 million in investment from April 2019 to March 2021, which will lead to the creation of 2,128 jobs.
    • Facilitate investment projects with a total potential investment value of approximately $5 billion aimed at creating more than 4,000 jobs.
    • Study alternative policy tools to attract investment and encourage economic development.
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    Modernizing and expanding irrigation infrastructure
    • Increase water security and water use efficiency to bring more land into irrigated primary production.
    • Entered into an agreement with the Canadian Infrastructure Bank and 10 Irrigation Districts In 2020 and 2021 to support a $933-million investment in irrigation district infrastructure.
    • This investment includes 93 irrigation modernization projects that will expand up to 230,000 new irrigated acres, expand and construct 4 reservoirs, and create an estimated 7,400 new permanent and 1,450 construction jobs.
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    Agricultural research
    • In March 2020, after engaging with farmers and ranchers across Alberta, we established an arm’s-length non-profit organization, Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR), to determine and fund agriculture research.
    • We committed $370 million to funding agriculture research through RDAR over 10 years - farmers and ranchers will guide research priorities.
    • The agriculture industry is getting the most from its investments and Albertans are getting the most for their dollars. Investments are leveraged with funding from the private sector.
    • Agricultural research in Alberta leads to tangible benefits for farmers under this new model, like higher profits and a more abundant food supply at an affordable cost for consumers.
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    Growing agri-food exports
    • Support the agri-food industry in establishing footholds in new markets and attracting foreign direct investment.
    • Improve market access to support growth and long-term success of the industry.
    • Hire new agri-specific staff at 4 international offices to help meet export growth and investment attraction targets.
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    Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) Modernization and funding
    • Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a critical source of funding to support investment and growth strategies and activities.
    • Supports investment and growth targets in agriculture and food processing through modernization.
    • Provided 115 Alberta-based value-added processors and organizations with 121 grants in 2020-2021 valued at $11.8 million.
    • It's estimated these grants led to more than $185 million in investment and created more than 940 jobs in the agriculture and agri-food processing sector.
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    Investments in agriculture technology
    • Smart agriculture focuses on the development and application of innovative technology to increase the quantity and quality of agriculture and agri-food products.
    • We are working to be a leader in practical solutions for the agri-food industry, showcasing our ongoing commitment to sustainable stewardship of our province’s abundant natural resources.
    • Investments in agriculture technology support more made-in-Alberta solutions to address challenges in the agri-food sector and will increase competitiveness on the global stage.
    • Advances in agricultural technology will help support sustainable economic growth and diversification in Alberta.

Benefits

Investment in the agri-food industry will continue to grow and diversify Alberta’s economy, strengthen our workforce, build for the future and help Albertans.

New investments and market opportunities would create thousands of construction and new permanent jobs.

Greater access to global markets and attracting foreign direct investment will support the growth and long-term success of Alberta’s farmers and ranchers.

We're building on Alberta's strong foundation as a major source of high-quality agricultural products. With the creation of thousands of new jobs from modernization and expansion projects, producers and irrigation districts will be better positioned to meet the growing global demand for agri-food products for generations to come.

Alberta’s agri-food sector is an important part of the Alberta economy, contributing $9.2 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) annually and employing more than 70,000 Albertans. Investment will continue to support and grow the industry.

  • Alberta Recovery Plan
    Alberta's Recovery Plan

    Diversifying today, more jobs tomorrow.

    Learn more