By: Ron Podbielski, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
An increase of 225 per cent.
That’s an enormous number, but it takes on a special meaning when you know that figures reflect the growth in Saskatchewan agri-food exports since 2007 – from $6.4 billion in 2007 to $14.4 billion in 2016.
It’s not enough to coast on our success, and that’s why the Saskatchewan government has maintained a steadfast focus on taking the message about the safety, quality and excellence of Saskatchewan food products across the world, focusing on nurturing existing trading relationships.
In mid-November, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart embarked on a trade mission to Japan, Saskatchewan’s fourth largest agri-food export market, participating in the Team Canada New Crop seminar and Canola Council of Canada consultations in Tokyo. Saskatchewan also used the opportunity to send a positive message to Japanese companies looking to invest or expand operations in the province.
The mission included one day of programming in the Osaka/Nagoya region, and three days of programming in Tokyo. Areas of focus included cereals, oilseeds, innovation and research, investment attraction and pork. Japan remains a vital market as top customer for non-durum wheat, as well as the second biggest purchaser of Saskatchewan canola seed. The province looks forward to potential future opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Also in November, Saskatchewan’s Economy Minister Steven Bonk traveled to India to strengthen the province’s trade links with one of Asia’s largest markets and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
In late October, heads of diplomatic missions or their designates from 18 countries, including key agricultural trading partners the United States, Pakistan and Turkey, visited the province as part of the “Mission to Saskatchewan.” The theme for the mission was “Food, Fuel and Fertilizer: Saskatchewan Has What the World Needs,” and the event showcased the province’s leadership in agriculture, energy, mineral resources, technology and innovation. Delegates had an opportunity to hear from Minister Stewart and from Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO of AGT Food and Ingredients, and also had an opportunity to tour Brandt Industries Ltd. as well as CanMar Grain Products Ltd., which specializes in roasted flaxseed products for the worldwide retail and wholesale markets.
Delegates demonstrated an interest in Saskatchewan’s production processes and the province’s emphasis on food security, and some expressed a desire to attend future events such as Canadian Western Agribition or the Farm Progress Show.