Despite facing a pandemic, 2020 was a record year for agriculture exports in Saskatchewan, as the province led the nation in growth of overall export sales compared to 2019.
Saskatchewan produced $16.9 billion in agricultural exports last year. That is an increase of 31 per cent from 2019 and a new high for the province, according to a news release. This represents more than 55 per cent of total provincial exports in 2020, which were valued at $30.4 billion.
This brings the province closer to meeting its Growth Plan goals, which include growing agri-food exports to $20 billion and increasing agriculture value-added revenue to $10 billion by 2030. These strong export numbers also reinforce Saskatchewan’s global reputation as a dependable source of safe, high-quality resources, goods, and products.
Overall merchandise export sales last year were more than $30 billion, up 2.5 per cent over 2019, the highest percentage increase among the provinces. On a national basis, exports were down 12.2 per cent over the same period.
Saskatchewan’s leading agriculture exports continue to be canola seed, non-durum wheat, lentils, canola oil and durum wheat.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has hit all economies hard worldwide, but these export numbers are strong signs our province is in a positive position for economic recovery in 2021,” Jeremy Harrison, minister of Trade and Export Development, said in the release. “With our world-class and growing export base, we have what the world wants and needs, (so) it will continue to drive investment and jobs for communities right across Saskatchewan.”
In 2020, major increases in exports were seen in farm and intermediate food products; forestry products and building and packaging materials; and industrial machinery, equipment, and parts. Saskatchewan’s top international markets for 2020 were the United States, China, Japan and India.
Saskatchewan agri-food export destinations are also diverse, as the province’s top agri-food exports in 2020 were United States, China, Japan, India and Mexico.
“Saskatchewan producers grow safe, high-quality food that the world needs and our agriculture exporters remain committed to providing the world with these products,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said in the news release. “I want to commend our producers on their hard work and resilience, which led to a new record in agri-food exports for 2020.”
The governmtent says the increases in primary production and a growing value-added sector contributed to the record agri-food export growth in Saskatchewan. In 2020, value-added exports were $3.2 billion, with canola oil, canola meal and processed oats the top value-added products.
Currently, the Government of Saskatchewan is working to open new trade offices in Singapore, Japan and India in 2021 to support increased export diversification. The new offices will complement the existing trade office in China, while continued access to Asian markets will benefit the province’s important economic sectors.