Export Opportunities

Opportunities exist for Alberta companies considering exporting their products abroad and for companies from around the world interested in investing in Alberta.

Alberta’s agriculture and food industry is export-oriented.  Alberta is the third largest exporter of primary and processed agricultural and food products (agri-food) in Canada. In 2016, Alberta’s top export markets for agri-food products were the United States, China, Japan, Mexico and South Korea.

The United States continues to be Alberta's largest trading partner, accounting for 40.5 per cent of the total agri-food exports at $4 billion in 2016. Exports to China, Alberta's second largest market in 2016 were $1.4 billion, followed by Japan at $1.1 billion. These three markets accounted for 66.5% of Alberta’s agricultural exports in 2016.

The changing global economy is creating many new opportunities for Alberta's agri-food industry. For Alberta companies, the benefits of exporting are many, including increased profits and sales, increased size and scope of their business and increased security as a result of spreading risks over a variety of markets.

Trade agreements, modern technology, transportation, and sophisticated communications systems are resulting in greater international access to goods and services.

Key drivers for growth of Alberta’s agri-food sector include:

  • Improved access to international markets through liberalization of trade agreements.
  • Growth in demand for commodity and value-added agri-food products.
  • Growing demand for safe and sustainable food and other agricultural products. 
  • Changes in regulatory frameworks in response to international market demands, such as age verification and traceability changes in the livestock sector, organic certification, etc.
  • Access to technological expertise, such as precision agriculture and genomics, to use resources more efficiently.
  • Research and investment into the functional properties of foods that can fight or prevent disease.
  • Research and investment in the industrial sector, such as bio-lubricants, composite materials and bio-fuels.

Global trends that will increase demand for Alberta’s agri-food exports:

  • Population growth is exacerbating the demand for food.  It is estimated that by 2050 there will be billions more mouths to feed, from 7.4 billion people in 2016 to an estimated 9.9 billion in 2050.i
  • Economic growth in countries such as China and India is leading to increased demand for meat and dairy products and driving up overall grain prices.  Economic growth is also anticipated in developing regions, such as Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and other countries in Asia. 
  • World trade in agricultural products is continuing to grow. Demand is shifting from bulk commodities to consumer ready foods with value-added products and niche markets anticipated to grow rapidly.
  • Climactic events, such as drought, floods and cold snaps, will continue to affect harvests and food availability.
  • Water security with population and economic growth is placing pressure on available water.  Water availability is a constraint in many parts of the world and groundwater is being depleted at a rate faster than it is being replenished.
  • High rates of soil loss to erosion and desertification could diminish the capacity of some countries to produce enough food.

Visit Agriculture and Forestry’s export site.

For more information on how to export, visit Agriculture and Food – Export Basics

i 2016 World Population Data Sheet. http://www.prb.org/pdf16/prb-wpds2016-web-2016.pdf
(sourced August 1, 2017)