Agri-food Exports

Canadian Agriculture Depends on Trade

Canada’s vast land, skilled workforce and technology helps make us a major exporter.

Canada’s agricultural industry is one of the most trade-dependent agricultural sectors in the world.

Canada’s agriculture and agri-food exports are critical to national, provincial and rural economies.

Canada is the fifth-largest exporter of agricultural and agri-food products in the world after the EU, the U.S., Brazil and China. The sector employed close to 578,000 people, accounting for close to 3 percent of Canada’s GDP. Notably,

  • Canada exports $56 billion a year in agriculture and agri-food products and approximately half of everything we produce is exported as either primary commodities or processed food and beverage products.
  • There are over 220,000 farms across Canada. Over 90 per cent of Canada’s farmers are dependent on exports as well about 40 per cent of our food processing sector.
  • We export half of our beef/cattle, 60% of our hogs/pork, 65% of our malt, 75% of our wheat, and over 90% of our canola.

Agriculture and food processing are key components of the Canadian economy and of Canada’s trade portfolio.  Agriculture and food account for 11% of Canada’s goods GDP and almost 10% of Canada’s total merchandise trade.  Food processing is by far the largest manufacturing employer in Canada supporting over 250,000 jobs across the country.

It is critical that Canada identifies new trade opportunities for our agri-food products to diversify, reduce reliance on existing markets and increase access to places where farmers and producers can get better value for their products. Free and fair trade is the top priority to ensure competitive access for Canadian agriculture and agri-food products throughout the world.

In the current environment of competitive trade liberalization, countries are competing with each other to be the first to secure free or at least preferential access to the world’s major markets.

Today, the success of our export market also depends on the timely negotiation and implementation of preferential trade access to the markets that our competitors are after.

Canada’s top export markets (by value)