The 2014 report provides an economic overview of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system with the latest comprehensive annual data from 2012.
The report describes the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system as a modern, highly complex, integrated, internationally competitive and growing part of the Canadian economy. It is a resilient system, continuously responding to the challenges and opportunities it faces by restructuring and adapting to changing consumer demands, advancing technology and globalization.
Importance of the System to the Canadian Economy
In 2012, the AAFS generated $103.5 billion, accounting for 6.7% of Canada's GDP. Of this, the food retail and wholesale industry accounted for the largest share (1.8%), followed by the food, beverage and tobacco (FBT) processing industry (1.7%).
The agriculture and agri-food sector's contribution to the Canadian GDP has increased annually since 2007, the exception being during the economic recession of 2009.
Employment in most industries in the AAFS continued on an upward trend. In 2012, the AAFS provided one in eight jobs in Canada, employing over 2.1 million people. The foodservice industry was the largest employer in the AAFS, accounting for 5.2% of all Canadian jobs in 2012.
Canadian export sales grew by 8.1% in 2012. While the U.S. remains Canada's most important agriculture and agri-food export destination, Canadian exports to China increased by 84.2% in 2012 to $5.0 billion, and accounted for much of the export growth in non-U.S. markets. With export sales of $43.6 billion, Canada overtook Argentina to become the world's fifth-largest exporter, accounting for 3.5% of the total value of world agriculture and agri-food exports.
While the U.S. continues to be Canada's most important trading partner, China surpassed Japan in 2012 to become Canada's second-largest agriculture and agri-food export destination. Of the total value of Canadian agriculture and agri-food exports, the U.S. accounted for 48.4% and China, 11.4%.
With import sales of $32.3 billion in 2012—an increase of 4.2% over the previous year—Canada remained the world's sixth-largest importer, accounting for 2.7% of the total value of world agriculture and agri-food imports. The U.S. accounted for 61.2% of the value of all Canadian agriculture and agri-food imports.
Favourable market conditions have enabled the sector to grow and allowed a number of farms to diversify their production to include non-traditional crops. In particular, drought in the U.S. in the summer of 2012 drove up grain and oilseed prices. Grain and oilseed receipts increased by $13.1 billion between 2002 and 2012, and accounted for the largest share (41.3%) of the total value of all farm market receipts in 2012. Overall, market receipts increased in value by 55.9% between 2002 and 2012. Those from the sale of special crops have more than doubled in that time. Receipts from red meat sales, however, have fallen over this period.
Farm performance, as measured by farm income and net worth, continued to remain strong overall. Net cash income among Canadian farms in 2012 was $13.3 billion—48.7% above the 2007-2011 average, and 17.6% above the 2011 net cash income. The net value added is estimated to have reached $16.2 billion in 2012—46.4% higher than the 2002-2011 average, and 1.8% above the previous record high in 2008. Canada-wide, the average net worth per farm was $1.7 million in 2011, an increase of 9.5% over 2010.
The composition of farm operators is also changing. An increasing proportion of farms are being operated solely by young operators (those 18 to 39 years of age), despite an aging population. These young farmers have an average of 11 years of farming experience.
Tuesday April 15, 2014/ Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/ Canada.