Deputy Minister's Message
Welcome to 2016! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with friends and family.
Last year was a challenging, but very successful year for our farmers and ranchers. Despite drier conditions in the spring and rain during harvest, we saw an impressive crop of 32 million tonnes – which is the second-largest crop in the province’s history. Livestock returns also continue to be strong as consumer demand for protein grows.
We start this year with the anticipation of the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The agreement was completed last year and is set to be signed in February. Saskatchewan is a trading province and exports billions of dollars in goods to TPP countries. The deal will give us increased access to important global markets with 800 million consumers.
I am excited to see additional recognition for one of Saskatchewan’s key crop sectors as the United Nations has designated 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP). Saskatchewan is a global leader in pulse crops, producing 65 per cent of the world’s lentils and 55 per cent of the world’s peas. Our pulse industry is thriving from humble beginnings of around 45,000 acres in the 1980s to four million acres in 2015.
Next month, our government will lead a pulse and canola focused trade mission to India to strengthen our relationship with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. India is our top export destination for pulses. We see great potential there and are working to triple Saskatchewan’s agri-food export levels to India by 2020 and retain that growth going forward. Trade missions, like this one, present incredible opportunities for our government to open doors in international markets and help industry build export capacity and secure the benefits of trade.
Closer to home, we see the value of local innovation and in this issue, you will find a story about a local brewery using lentils in their beer to create a new product with a truly Saskatchewan taste.
I’m looking forward to 2016 and watching our industry continue to grow, innovate and be a leader on the world stage.