Faced with major challenges such as climate change, a growing global population and recent supply chain disruptions, food processing and agribusiness companies are looking for safe, high-quality and sustainably produced agricultural products. Saskatchewan has a rich agricultural history of helping to feed the world.

Traditionally known as the breadbasket of Canada, the province is home to 40 per cent of Canada’s cultivated farmland. Already a major global exporter of wheat, it is also the world’s largest exporter of lentils, dried peas, canola, oats and flax. It is also a leader in sustainable agricultural practices, including zero-till farming, which keeps more carbon in the ground.

With our world-class and growing export base, we have what the world wants and needs,” says Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison. “Our province is a global leader in crop science, plant proteins and ag-tech, and these sectors represent future opportunities for us to provide sustainable food from farm to fork.

The Government of Saskatchewan has an ambitious strategy for economic growth for the next 10 years called Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan. Agriculture plays a key role in the plan, placing a priority on diversifying the province’s international markets and increasing exports.

Recognising that Saskatchewan offers more than crop exports, major international plant protein processors have been expanding their operations to the province. US-based Ingredion, a global food ingredients company serving customers in more than 120 countries, recently acquired an operation in Saskatchewan. The company was drawn to the province by the availability and quality of inputs, strong agribusiness infrastructure and its talented workforce.

“The Saskatchewan provincial and local authorities have worked very hard to provide strong support in terms of building infrastructure. They make doing business in Saskatchewan easy for us,” says Jorgen Kokke, Ingredion’s Executive Vice President and President, Americas. “The location of the Ingredion facility in Vanscoy, Saskatchewan, in the heart of one of the largest pulse-growing and processing regions in the world, will be a significant enabler to Ingredion’s success going forward.”

Saskatchewan’s food manufacturing sector represents approximately 95 per cent of its total value-added revenue, which is estimated at CA$6.8bn for 2020-21. Processors can take advantage of several incentives to help make their operations in the province globally competitive. The Saskatchewan Commercial Innovation Incentive offers a provincial corporate income tax rate as low as 6 per cent on companies bringing new innovations to market. The Saskatchewan Value-Added Agriculture Incentive provides a 15 per cent tax rebate on capital expenditures valued at CA$10m or more for newly constructed or expanded value-added agriculture facilities in the province.

With competitive business costs and taxation rates, the province aims to increase its agriculture value-added revenue to CA$10bn by 2030. Boosting exports will also be a big part of that strategy. In 2022, Saskatchewan opened an international trade and investment office in London to increase agri-food exports and facilitate investment opportunities for companies based in the UK and other European countries.

Also important to government is investing in R&D, and the province is becoming recognised as a hub for value-added innovation and product development. The Agri-Food Innovation Centre, which includes the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre in the city of Saskatoon, provides expertise and resources to assist companies in creating innovative plant-based food products.

As the global population is estimated to reach nearly 10bn by the year 2050, and with plants representing an increasingly popular food choice for consumers, Saskatchewan firmly has its sights on expanding its agricultural stronghold to become the world’s best place to invest in agri-business and plant proteins.

Ingredion’s Kokke agrees: “We are very excited to be located in Saskatchewan, which will prove to be an advantage not only for Ingredion but for our customers, too, who are looking for high quality, sustainable and great tasting plant-based ingredients.”

This article was sourced from the Financial Times. The Government of Saskatchewan is a country partner at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit in Singapore where they will be presenting the most innovative start-ups from the region on the Start-Up Pitch Day on October 25. They will also host a brunch briefing titled, ‘Plant-Based Protein Scale-Up: Paving the Way for Global Expansion’.  Visit www.agrifoodinnovation.com/agenda to learn more.