Canadian agriculture and agri-food producers have a bounty of information resources and support organizations available to help them capitalize on export opportunities. Learn more about them here, plus get key takeaways shared by our expert panellists during the webinar: Seeds to Success: Taking Your Agri-Food Business Global.

By the numbers: Canadian food and agricultural product exports

  •  Total $65 billion annually
  • Represent 3% of GDP
  • Account for 11% of total Canadian exports
  • Experienced a 4.5% average compound annual growth rate over the last decade compared to 1.5% for total exports
  • More than half of our agriculture products are exported 

Export markets with the biggest appetite for Canadian food and agricultural products

  1. United States
  2.  China
  3.  Japan
  4.  Mexico

These four markets account for $50 billion in sales, or 76% of total food and agricultural exports, and their demand is growing.

Greatest opportunities for growth

  • Vegetable products
  • Plant-based protein foods
  • Animal-based proteins
  • Organics
  • Grains and pulses
  • Seafood
  • Niche horticultural products (such as cherries and mushrooms)

These international demand trends are serving up new opportunities

  •  Renaissance of protein demand worldwide

o    Animal-based protein demand high in emerging markets. Per capita consumption in China is expected to grow by 20% for beef and 8% for pork within the next 10 years.

o    Plant-based protein demand on the rise. Future high potential in India. Learn about Canada’s Protein Industries Supercluster initiative.

  • Emerging market middle-class growth and shift to western food preferences. China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia are looking for higher quality, better value products.
  • Health and wellness demand in both developed and developing economies. There are ample opportunities within Japan’s 65+ health-conscious demographic, which is roughly the size of Canada’s entire population.
  • Convenience foods. The emerging trends of snacking in Europe and single-person households in Japan mean demand for prepared foods in those markets is on the rise.
  • Organic foods. The global organic food and beverages market is expected to hit US$323 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual rate of more than 14%.
  • Check out the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for their Food and agriculture projections to 2050.

Key challenges facing agro-exporters and how to solve them

  1. Regulatory barriers are the most significant hurdle, so be sure to research the specific requirements of each international market.
  2. Lack of capacity. If you’re too busy satisfying the demand of existing markets to pursue new opportunities, then it’s time to build strategies to leverage partnerships.
  3. Competitiveness. Exchange rates can play a leading role in offering the right price point for international buyers.
  4. Low rate of Canadian direct investment abroad (CDIA). To penetrate new markets, there needs to be a greater investment footprint abroad. Currently, the agro-business sector accounts for only 2.5% of total CDIA.

Benefiting from Canada’s free trade agreements (FTAs)

Free trade agreements can help grow your agro-exports by reducing or eliminating tariffs, by addressing non-tariff barriers to trade, and by developing mechanisms to address and resolve trade issues. Find out how each of these FTAs can increase your agro-exports:

  • CETA (Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement)
  • CUSMA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement)
  • CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership)

You can search all trade and investment agreements hereRemember that you must satisfy the Rules of Origin prescribed in each free trade agreement to be eligible for preferential tariff treatment. 

Sampling of key resources

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

  • AgriMarketing Program: Targeted funding support for small- and medium-sized enterprises to implement their international export plans.
  • Canada Brand: Free branding tool that helps producers raise their profile and enhance their international promotions.
  • International market intelligence: Access free market intelligence reports and services, including trend forecasts, opportunities abroad, international e-commerce platforms and more.
  • Trade shows: Find upcoming events for your export goods, as well as tools to help you plan, prepare, exhibit and follow up on your trade show presence. The Canada Pavilion Program makes trade show participation easier at the world’s premier food and beverage events.
  • Agriculture Trade Commissioner Service: Located in 15 strategic markets, our agents focus on developing linkages and conducting intelligence specifically related to agriculture exporters.
  •  Single window contact: Email your export-related questions to the Market Access Secretariat for help regarding market intelligence and access.

Farm Credit Canada (FCC)

  • Finance agriculture operationsIncluding lines of credit, crop inputs, livestock, equipment, environmental solutions, farm transfers, land and buildings, young farmers, and loan insurance
  • Agribusiness and agri-food financial services: Provide flexible loans to food manufacturers and processors, equipment manufacturers and dealers, wholesalers and distributors, and agriculture input suppliers
  •  Tools and reports

o    Economic outlooks

o    Trade Rankings Report

o    Articles, blogs, advice and updates

Export Development Canada (EDC)

o    Global Economic Outlook

o    Global Export Forecast

o    Country Risk Quarterly

o    Global Financial Markets

o    Trade Confidence Index

o    Weekly Commodity Tracker

o    Sector report: Organic food market in Canada and its impact on the world

Trade Commissioner Service: Start by contacting a trade commissioner in the Canadian regional office closest to you to learn how to get export-ready for your most promising international markets.

Fruit d’Or—Guest exporter panellist