The global economy has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As our province starts to recover and as we see light on the horizon, the pork sector continues to create jobs and growth opportunities throughout Manitoba through the production of high quality and affordable protein.
Pork produced in Manitoba is globally recognized as being among the best in the world, with high standards for safety and quality. The provincial government has been a key supporter of agriculture through the sustainable protein strategy, ensuring that Manitoba is positioned as a leader in protein production as demand increases around the world. The Manitoba Protein Advantage will provide economic opportunities for farmers, processors, and communities across Manitoba.
With demand for pork on the rise as the most consumed meat globally, and with trade agreements in place with key countries such as Japan and the United States, the Manitoba pork sector is experiencing a level of optimism that has not been seen in years. Manitoba is the second-largest pork exporting province in Canada, with pork and pork products sold directly to 30 countries around the world. Rising incomes in developing countries and strong demand for pork requires increased production, and Manitoba pork producers and processors are well-positioned to offer a consistent supply to meet the needs of new and existing markets.
Agriculture is a key driver of the provincial economy, and Manitoba’s pork sector contributes $1.7 billion on an annual basis. These contributions are used to support provincial programs and initiatives in the areas of housing, infrastructure, education, and health care. Economic stability is key to creating certainty and confidence in Manitoba’s economy and to ensuring our provincial government can fund essential services that are vital to our daily lives. Stability and continued economic activity are especially necessary as we recover from the impact of COVID-19.
New employment opportunities and growth provided by increased investment takes on many forms and provides for a wide variety of career and employment opportunities. From veterinarians and environmental scientists, to electricians, food production workers, and transport drivers, about 14,000 Manitobans depend on the pork sector for their livelihood. Over half of these employees are connected to processing, transportation, and related service businesses.
Enabling young people to have a future in the communities in which they grew up is essential to rural development and the pork sector is one few sources of new job creation in rural areas. Businesses such as feed mills, abattoirs, and major processing plants like the ones in Brandon and Neepawa have become an important part of their local economies. Winnipeg has benefited from the pork sector as well through the continued expansion of its bacon processing facility which reinforces Manitoba’s place as an important centre for food processing in Canada. Local communities have further benefitted with residents building new homes, as well as increased attendance in schools and churches, recreational facilities, and daycares.
Since 2017, there have been over 20 new barn sites or expansions developed across the province, adding up to over $100 million in private investments. An additional $200 million has been invested in processing facilities as well. In the coming years, pork producers will be investing almost $2 billion in continued growth. These new investments are strengthening communities across rural Manitoba and adding new capacity in urban areas for sustainable growth. New development also creates employment for local tradespeople, focused on construction essentials like concrete, framing, and electrical work to name a few.
Manitoba’s pork sector continues to work with investors, local governments, rural communities, and the provincial government to encourage new investment, economic development, and job opportunities for all Manitobans. Pork producers continue to be important and significant contributors to their communities, and the benefits of the pork sector to Manitoba will ensure a legacy of growth and financial support for decades to come.
To learn more, visit manitobapork.com/economy