“Alberta agri-food exports refer to agriculture and food products that are grown and processed in the province and then shipped to other countries,” explains Barbara Pekalski, trade research statistician with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF).
These exports include primary agriculture commodities such as live animals and crops, and processed agricultural and food products.
Pekalski says that in 2018 Alberta set a record, exporting $11.6 billion of agricultural and food products around the world.
“These exports were 3.2% higher than in 2017. Increases were reported mainly in exports of value added processed products while exports of primary commodities declined. Over the past 5 years - from 2014 to 2018 - the revenue from agri-food exports averaged $10.6 billion annually.”
Wheat continued to be Alberta’s largest export in 2018, followed by beef, canola seed, crude canola oil, and canola cake and meal.
“These top five products combined, represented 66% or $7.6 billion of Alberta’s total agri-food exports,” she says. “All these products showed increases in value with the exception of canola seed which declined.”
Alberta exported its products to 145 countries in 2018. “Almost 80% or $9 billion of Alberta agri-food products were exported to the top five markets - the United States, China, Japan, Mexico and Indonesia.”
She adds that the U.S. remains Alberta’s largest market, taking about 38% of the provincial total at $4.3 billion. The U.S. is the largest market for Alberta cattle, hogs and beef.
“China is an important contributor to Alberta’s agri-food exports. During the past 5 years, exports to this market doubled from $1.3 billion in 2014 to $2.6 billion in 2018. China is Alberta’s largest market for canola seed and crude canola oil, and it ranked second in exports of canola cake and meal. In 2018, China accounted for more than one-half of Alberta’s total exports of canola - including seeds, oils, cake and meal.”
Nationally, Alberta is the third largest exporter of agri-food products after Ontario and Saskatchewan, accounting on average for about 20% of the Canadian total. Alberta is the number one exporter of beef and live cattle in Canada and the second largest exporter of wheat and canola seed.
The source of these trade statistics is from the official data from the Statistics Canada, International Trade Division. AF statisticians customize the data to compile statistics on Alberta agri-food exports and provide the information upon request.
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