Trends in Alberta Agri-Food Exports, No. 12 - Primary Versus Value Added Products, 2005-2014

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 During the past decade, from 2005 - 2014, Alberta total agri-food exports rose substantially from $5.3 billion to $9.7 billion. During this period, exports of primary commodities more than doubled. Exports of value added products also increased but at a smaller rate. In 2005, Alberta exports consisted of 39% of commodities and 61% of value added products. By 2014, this ratio changed to 56% of primary commodities and 44% of value added products.
  • Alberta's food and beverage manufacturing sector and primary agricultural sector are both export oriented. Recent trends indicate that exports of primary commodities as a proportion of agriculture production (measured by value of farm market receipts) has declined since 2008. However, commodity exports still account for about half of the agriculture production. The share of value added products remained almost steady, accounting on average for over 30% of the province's food and beverage manufacturing sales.
  • Among factors contributing to such strong commodity export performance was a high demand for grains and oilseeds as a result of an expanding biodiesel industry (2008). This trend led to significantly higher crop prices. High crop prices, especially for wheat and canola seed had major impact on our exports. These two commodities also led our exports in the past five years. On the other hand, exports of livestock declined, mainly due to low cattle prices and high input costs such as feed prices.
  • In 2014, the export trend became more positive for valued added products, and the gap between primary commodity and value added shrunk. Contrary to previous years, livestock prices rose substantially, especially for meats. Higher exports of meats and other manufactured products contributed to 16.9% increase in valued added exports in 2014. By comparison, commodity exports rose 8.2%. If the current trend continues, value added exports might grow in the coming years.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Barbara Pekalski.
This document is maintained by Rita Splawinski.
This information published to the web on March 14, 2016.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 7, 2018.