The following piece is from our sister publication, Alberta Seed Guide.
Despite challenging times for agricultural exports, Canada reported its highest year-over-year increase for exports at 13.8 per cent in 2020, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) says in its latest trade report released Oct. 26. Overall, agriculture exporting countries combined saw commodity exports contract by nine per cent, largely due to the pandemic.
“Canada’s agriculture and food industry has shown resilience during these challenging times and has the potential to emerge from this pandemic even stronger, as our producers, agriculture manufacturers and food processors begin to recover from the disruption caused by the pandemic,” J.P. Gervais, FCC’s chief economist, says in a news release about the report.
At 5.5 per cent of the world’s total commodity exports, Canada was the world’s fifth-largest exporter, a position it has held since 2012, the release notes. The United States is still the world’s largest supplier of commodities, followed by Netherlands, China and Brazil.
Canada has not yet cracked the top 10 exporters of processed food products, but gained ground since 2011, moving from sixteenth to the eleventh largest food exporter. The U.S. has maintained its leading role since 2012, followed by Germany, Netherlands, France, Brazil, Italy, China, Belgium, Spain and Indonesia.
Compared to the significant global contraction in commodity exports, total food exports weren’t as badly hit by pandemic disruptions, falling only by 3.7 per cent. Growth in total food exports over the past 10 years has been much slower, with average annual growth of less than one per cent, the release says.
For agriculture commodities, Canada’s exporting success in 2020 came from oilseeds at 32.2 per cent of total Canadian agricultural exports, while cereals comprised 28 per cent. Of all cereals, wheat was Canada’s largest export, accounting for 80.9 per cent of total cereal exports last year.