British Columbia agrifood and seafood producers exported more products than ever before in 2016, setting a new record for the fourth year in a row.
2016 exports reached a new high of $3.8 billion, and an increase of over $300 million from 2015, led by a $195.5 million increase (17%) in the export of B.C. seafood products, and an $104.6 million increase (4%) in agrifood products. The growth in 2016 exports is the fourth consecutive year of record agrifoods exports in B.C. and is over $1 billion (44%) higher than 2013, when $2.7 billion set the export record of the day.
British Columbia exported 712 types of foods to 160 markets in 2016, building on the demand for high-quality, trusted B.C. products, and the network British Columbians have with family, friends, and businesses all over the world. The B.C. government supports local businesses to reach new markets through trade missions, 15 international B.C. government trade offices, and participation in about 20 international agrifood and seafood trade events a year.
Recent B.C. government initiatives to increase trade include:
- An International Market Development Strategy that focuses on providing programs and services that support three key areas: market knowledge, generating investment, and building networks;
- Two recently hired B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Trade and Investment Representatives – one in Hong Kong and one in South Korea – to support the expansion of B.C. agrifood and seafood export sales and to collect market intelligence on current and future growth opportunities; and
- Online, searchable access of the B.C. government’s Agrifood and Seafood Export Ready Business Catalogue in multiple languages. The catalogues represents B.C.’s diverse agrifood and seafood sector, and include profiles of about 100 B.C. producers of fruits and vegetables, seafood, meat, packaged food, natural health products and beverage makers, ready to export B.C. products.
The Export Ready Business Catalogue can be searched in English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean and French at:
- English: www.gov.bc.ca/agrifoodexports
- Chinese Simplified (Mandarin): www.gov.bc.ca/agrifoodexports-zh
- Japanese: www.gov.bc.ca/agrifoodexports-ja
- Korean: www.gov.bc.ca/agrifoodexports-ko
- French: www.gov.bc.ca/agrifoodexports-fr
The B.C. government's Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan supports the building of markets and maintaining a secure food supply. The plan is a component of the BC Jobs Plan, and the roadmap to leading the agrifoods sector to becoming a $15-billion-a-year industry by 2020.
Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture –
“By working with B.C. farmers, seafood producers and value added manufacturers, the B.C. government has succeeded in building the reputation and demand for high-quality, trusted B.C. food products, with more than $1 billion growth in just four years. The success we’ve had sharing our products with families around the world, means more income, more careers, and more opportunities for British Columbians.”
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism –
“The Province has been working hard to connect B.C. businesses with new markets overseas, so it’s great to see B.C. agrifood and seafood products continue to gain attention worldwide. With trade agreements like the Canada Korea Free Trade Agreement in place – and new agreements to come – we expect even more opportunities for B.C. exporters.”
Jeremy Dunn, executive director, BC Salmon Farmers Association –
“The value of B.C. farm-raised salmon has never been higher, and that value is being reinvested in the industry with salmon producers building new hatcheries and processing plants, upgrading marine farms with the latest technology, building new working vessels, investing in skills training and scientific research, supporting local community projects, and certifying farms to the most stringent third-party environmental standards available.”
- B.C. agrifood and seafood exports in the last four years are $3.8 billion in 2016, $3.5 billion in 2015, $2.9 billion in 2014 and $2.7 billion in 2013.
- The top five export markets in 2016 were the United States ($2.7 billion), China ($407 million), Japan ($207 million), South Korea ($64 million) and Hong Kong ($55 million).
- Other markets experiencing high-percentage growth in 2016 include Brazil (136%, up $6 million to $11 million), Ukraine (95%, up $15 million to $31 million), Philippines (40%, $6 million to $20 million), and Australia (23%, up $6 million to $30 million).
- The top five agrifood products were food preparations for manufacturing and natural-health products ($307 million), baked goods and cereal products ($293 million), blueberries ($200 million), mushrooms ($156 million), and chocolate and cocoa preparations ($119 million).
- The top five seafood products were farm-raised salmon ($545 million), crab ($142 million), hake ($71 million), shrimp and prawns ($47 million), and herring ($45 million).
- The volume of B.C. 2016 agrifood and seafood exports increased 2% (23,000 tonnes) to 1.056 million tonnes.