Why Saskatchewan?

Saskatchewan is uniquely positioned to lead the world’s efforts to address the issue of food insecurity.

Arable land, numerous commodity areas, strong agricultural exports

At 651,900 km2, Saskatchewan is a vast and expansive network of farmland and urban development. Saskatchewan has 44% of Canada’s arable farmland totalling more than 60 million acres. Approximately 33 million acres of agricultural land is used for crop production each year. Agriculture has always been a key industry in Saskatchewan, and with over 26 commodity areas, Saskatchewan’s crop industry accounts for over one-third of the province’s total exports.

crop research

Saskatchewan is known worldwide as a consistent and reliable supplier of safe, high-quality grains, oilseeds and pulse crops. In 2014, Saskatchewan produced:

  • Canada's chickpeas

  • Canada's lentils

  • Canada's durum wheat

  • Canada's flaxseed

  • Canada's dry peas

  • Canada's canola


Saskatchewan exports more than $1 billion annually in each of the four key product sectors: cereal grains (wheat, oats, rye and barley), oilseeds (canola and flax), pulses (peas and lentils) and edible oils (canola). In 2014, Saskatchewan was responsible for 65 percent of the world’s lentil exports, 55 percent of the world’s pea exports, 21 percent of the world’s canola seed exports and 17 percent of the world’s canola oil exports. Also in 2014, Saskatchewan was the leading Canadian exporter of numerous agri-food products, including:

  • Canola seed – 1,133,982 tonnes
  • Non-durum wheat – 997,904 tonnes
  • Durum wheat – 861,827 tonnes
  • Lentils – 635,030 tonnes
  • Canola oil – 589,671 tonnes
  • Peas – 544,312 tonnes

Saskatchewan is home to a large agriculture biotechnology and research cluster that focuses on crop breeding, fractionation and processing technologies, dairy research, and other agricultural areas.


Supportive government

As a founding partner, the Government of Saskatchewan has pledged to support GIFS and the results that the Institute’s research will bring – new agri-businesses based on IT, biologics and imaging technologies – and will boost Canada’s reputation for safe, nutritious food with traditional and new international trading partners.

The Government of Saskatchewan supports the creation of a knowledge-based economy. The Ministry of Agriculture invests in progressive and relevant research, innovation and commercialization to benefit the agriculture sector.

The Ministry of Agriculture collaborates with industry organizations, producers and research institutions to increase competitiveness, production, new crop development, product development and value-added processing in Saskatchewan’s crop sectors with the goal of increasing overall profitability throughout the value chain.


Unique research cluster at the University of Saskatchewan

GIFS’ research will be strengthened through its strong relationship with the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) and its key on-campus research facilities, which include the Canadian Light Source (synchrotron), the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, National Research Council Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Faculty from several departments across the U of S, including Agriculture and Bioresources, Computer Science, Engineering, and the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy will help attract to GIFS new partners and the best and brightest researchers from around the globe.

The presence of this research cluster, along with GIFS’ mandate, played a key role in the U of S and GIFS being awarded a Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) award of $37.2 million, the largest federal investment for research ever received by the University.

Innovative producers

Saskatchewan is a province with many innovative and inventive producers, early adopters of commercial technology who have led the way in boosting the province’s agricultural productivity. Saskatchewan farmers were the drivers of no-till agriculture in Canada, the development of healthy vegetable oils through canola, the delivery of major pulse and legume crops to a world in need of more protein and the world’s highest-quality bread-making wheat.