By Kris Huynh, International Research Officer Intern, Market Development Unit, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Saskatchewan continues to be one of Canada's leading agri-food exporters, with sales of $6.6 billion in the first half of 2019. Saskatchewan's export numbers remained relatively stable at $6.7 billion, with a one cent decrease when compared to the first half of 2018. Agri-food exports account for more than 40 per cent of Saskatchewan's total exports and continue to be a cornerstone of the province's trade-based economy.
In the first half of 2019, Saskatchewan's top agri-food exports were canola seed, non-durum wheat, canola oil and durum wheat. Saskatchewan's top agri-food export markets included the United States, China and Japan. While the overall export sales are similar to the first half of 2018, Saskatchewan agri-food exports were impacted by global trade uncertainty. For example, Saskatchewan agri-food exports to China have decreased 34 per cent to $1.1 billion in the first half of 2019. This decrease is mainly due to canola seed exports dropping from $753 million to $265 million, a 65 per cent decrease from the first half of 2018.
Oilseeds: In the first half-year of 2019, Japan, Mexico and Pakistan ranked in Saskatchewan's top canola seed export markets. Export markets for canola seed included Japan (27 per cent of rapeseed exports), valued at $333 million, and Mexico (14 per cent of exports), valued at $168 million. The demand for Saskatchewan canola seed exports grew by 62 per cent in Pakistan (10 per cent of exports), valued at $125 million.
Wheat: In the first half-year of 2019, Saskatchewan's non-durum and durum wheat exports grew 13 and 10 per cent, with sales of $1.3 billion and $697 million respectively. Saskatchewan exported more than $100 million in non-durum wheat to Indonesia, China, Japan and Bangladesh. Saskatchewan durum exports have increased to Algeria and improved in Italy, with exports increasing to 35 and 640 per cent respectively from the first half-year of 2018.
Pulses: Despite a decrease in Saskatchewan pulse exports to China, Saskatchewan pulse exports to India improved by 543 per cent from the first half of 2018. Saskatchewan pulse exports to India reached $188 million, making India our top pulse export market for the first half of 2019. To keep pulse markets strong, Saskatchewan is diversifying its pulse exports to other countries. Sales to Bangladesh reached $149 million, an increase of 407 per cent from the first half of 2018.
Free trade agreements will continue to impact Saskatchewan's export numbers. With the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) ratified, Saskatchewan is experiencing new export growth to Japan and Vietnam. In the first half of 2019, exports of barley to Japan increased 311 per cent and exports of canola meal to Vietnam increased 148 per cent, reaching $31 million and $3 million respectively. It will be interesting to watch additional CPTPP market development for the second half of 2019 and beyond.