Alberta Agri-Food Exports, 2007-2016

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Highlights on Alberta Agri-Food Exports in 2016

In 2016, Alberta exports of primary and processed agricultural and food products (agri-food) were $10.0 billion, marginally lower than the 2015 record of 10.2 billion. For the third consecutive year, gains were reported mainly in the exports of value added products. Nationally, Alberta accounted for 17.7 per cent of the Canadian total, and remained the third largest exporter of agri-food products after Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Export Products

Exports of value added products continued to grow, up 4.9 per cent to $5.04 billion and represented just over one-half of Alberta's total. Meats were the largest value added exports, followed by refined and crude canola oil, french fries, prepared animal feeds, malt and canola cake and meal.

Exports of primary commodities (animals and crops), declined 7.9 per cent to $4.96 billion in 2016 and accounted for 49.6 per cent of Alberta's total exports. The decline was the result of lower exports of major cereal grains combined with weaker prices.

In the crop sector, exports of major grains declined in both value and quantity, while exports of oilseeds, with the exception of flaxseed, increased in 2016. Wheat exports fell almost 25.0 per cent in value and 18.5 per cent in quantity. Substantially lower exports of wheat to the United States, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Peru contributed to the decline. Exports of canola seed rose 9.8 per cent in value and 11.0 per cent in quantity. China remained the largest market for canola seed, followed by Japan, Mexico and Pakistan. Among the other crops, increases were reported for dry peas, lentils, potatoes, mustard seed and other oilseeds.

In the livestock sector, exports of live animals improved in 2016. While exports of live cattle rose in both value and quantity, the increase in numbers was higher than in value.  Also, live hog exports showed higher increase in numbers than in value. On the other hand, exports of beef rose 9.8 per cent in quantity, while the value declined slightly. In contrast, pork exports grew marginally in value, while quantity was down. The United States was Alberta's largest export market for livestock.

Trading Partners

The United States (US) continues to be Alberta's largest trading partner, accounting for 40.5 per cent of total agri-food exports. In 2016, exports to this market were just over $4.0 billion. Substantial increases occurred in exports of value added products such as crude canola oil, dairy products, honey, processed meat and beef. These increases moderated declines in primary commodity exports. Commodity exports fell 5.2 per cent from 2015, mainly due to lower export values and quantities of major grains and oilseeds. The US remained Alberta's sole export market for non-purebred live cattle and hogs, and accounted for over 70.0 per cent of the province's total beef exports (value).

Exports to China, Alberta's second largest market in 2016, fell 13.4 per cent to $1.4 billion. The decline was a result of substantially lower exports of wheat, barley, canola seed, beef and pork. Partially offsetting these declines were larger exports of crude canola oil. As in previous years, crude canola oil was the second largest export to China, after canola seed. In 2016, exports of canola seed fell 9.5 per cent, while crude canola oil was up 34.9 per cent. Canola seed and oil combined, made up almost 65.0 per cent of Alberta's total exports to this market.
Exports to Japan, Alberta's third largest market, rose 11.3 per cent to $1.2 billion in 2016. Increased exports of canola seed, wheat, beef, pork and processed meat, contributed to the growth. Canola seed ($403 million), the largest export to Japan, increased 13.0 per cent in value. Exports of beef rose 82.0 per cent to $118.5 million. Pork, traditionally the second largest exports to this market, rose 7.0 per cent to $213 million. Other increases included prepared animal feeds, milled cereals and horse meat.

Exports to Mexico, Alberta's fourth largest market, fell 5.8 per cent to $540 million in 2016. Lower exports of beef, wheat, milled cereals, canola seed and live cattle contributed to the decline. Beef exports fell 31.4 per cent to $98 million, and canola was down 1.5 per cent to $248 million. Canola seed, beef and wheat combined, made up about 80.0 per cent of Alberta's total agri-food exports to this market.

Exports to South Korea, Alberta's fifth largest export market, grew moderately by 1.8 per cent to $237 million in 2016. Substantial increases were reported in exports of beef, french fries, animal feeds, crude canola oil and pork. On the other hand, exports of wheat and hides and skins declined from 2015.

At the regional level, the largest exports were reported for North America and Asia. Exports to Asia fell 1.4 per cent to $3.9 billion and accounted for 38.9 per cent of Alberta’s total. The highest growth occurred in exports to Eastern and Western Europe, up 18.0 per cent and 5.0 per cent, respectively.

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This information published to the web on September 18, 2017.