Canadian Agri Food Trade Alliance


Why agricultural and agri-food exports matter to the Canadian economy

Earlier this year, the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) commissioned a study on the economic contribution of agricultural and agri-food exports to the Canadian economy.

This study sought to evaluate how the agricultural and agri-food export market impacts the Canadian job market; the value that CAFTA’s members contribute to the economy, and how agriculture and agri-food compares to other export sectors.

The highlights of the study are summarized below. Click here to view the full report.

Overall contribution to the Canadian economy

Dependence on exports

  • 90% of all Canadian farms rely on exports, 80% of commercially-oriented farms.
  • Estimated equivalents of 65% of the cultivated area and 40% of pasture land in Canada are exported by the agricultural and food processing sectors.


  • 130,000 jobs depend on agricultural exports
  • 182,000 jobs depend on food and beverage manufacturing exports
  • CAFTA’s members represent 352,000 direct jobs in agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing combined.
  • CAFTA’s members represent 352,000 direct and indirect jobs in agriculture, along with 588,000 direct and indirect jobs in food and beverage manufacturing.

Impact on the GDP

  • CAFTA’s members represent about two-thirds of the direct agri-food GDP (agriculture, food and beverage manufacturing) with a direct GDP worth more than 34 billion dollars.
  • CAFTA’s members generated a direct and indirect GDP worth 30.5 billion dollars for agriculture and 65.5 billion dollars for food and beverage manufacturing.
  • 33% of the agriculture value-added is directly attributable to exports.
  • 22% of food and beverage manufacturing value-added is directly attributable