Alberta beefing up trade promotion offices in major agricultural export markets

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen were at Ken Lewis’ farm near Spruce Grove, Alta. on Wednesday to announce the province will be adding to its international offices in several key agricultural export markets.

Specific trade and investment-focused officers will be added to Invest Alberta’s international offices at Mexico City and Singapore. New staff will also be added to offices in the U.S. and European Union.

The province says this will complement the work being done at other provincially-funded offices at Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, and New Delhi.

“One of the reasons we can be optimistic about Alberta’s economy is Alberta agriculture,” says Kenney. Referring to bumper crop yields in parts of the province, he said the government believes 2020 is on track to be “the single biggest year in the history of Alberta agriculture.”

He noted market access is critical to the growth and long-term success of Alberta farmers and ranchers. “Putting experienced, intelligent and driven people on the ground will create countless opportunities for our thriving agriculture sector and support them for generations to come,” says Kenney.

The announcement coincides with new provincial growth targets for agricultural exports. The province is aiming to boost value-added exports by 8.5 per cent per year, and primary agricultural exports by 7.5 per cent per year. This would boost agri-food exports to $16.6 billion by 2023, the government says, representing a 43 per cent rise from the 2018 value of $11.6 billion.

“Now is the time to capitalize on the fast-growing global demand for high quality, safe food by improving market access for Alberta,” said Dreeshen. “Greater access to global markets will help our agriculture sector thrive, enabling hardworking farm families in Alberta to make more money from the marketplace.”

The dollar amount the province will be investing in hiring the new trade-focused staff was not included in the announcement.

Categories: Ag Policy / News / Trade / Western Canada

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