July 2016

Industry Investments

Asia Trade Initiative Enhancements Help Alberta Elk Commission Continue Momentum in Key Markets


The Alberta Elk Commission (AEC) represents over 200 local producers in promoting and developing the local elk industry. AEC is closely aligned with the Canadian Cervid Alliance (CCA) and helps the industry gain access to South Korea and China.

“These are two priority markets for our industry because elk velvet antler receives premium value,” said AEC consultant, Diana O’Hara. “To encourage these countries to open up their borders to Canadian products, we plan two or three missions to South Korea and China per year to build networks and the trust necessary to facilitate success.”

One of the more notable partners gained from these efforts is the Korean Deer Breeders Association (KDBA). In fact, the KDBA President has visited Alberta multiple times over the past three years. However, continued discussions are necessary to persuade the South Korean and Chinese governments to allow market access for Canadian cervid products.

Recognizing a need to expand on current efforts, AEC partnered with the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) to help capitalize on the relationship-building progress. Along with maintaining a presence in these markets through missions, enhanced branding and promotional assets, AEC looks to strengthen relationships through this project. This includes key South Korean and Chinese officials, noted Chinese companies, as well as the KDBA and its directors.

“We understand that this is a long-term initiative, so there is a constant need for us to grow our in-market expertise. That is why we decided to have market representation in both countries moving forward. Our in-market experts will help identify and develop relationships with important market partners and officials, therefore increasing personal interaction and product promotion,” said O’Hara.

Increased communication within Canada and Alberta is also an important part of this project, as AEC will work with CCA to boost relationships with domestic government, embassy and trade staff. Meanwhile, AEC looks to increase public and producer awareness through an updated website with increased information about international markets, while also working with agriculture journalists to generate positive media exposure.

“To ensure market access to South Korea and China becomes a reality for the Alberta and Canadian elk industry, multiple groups of people require in-market knowledge,” said O’Hara. “The more information and expertise that we can share, the more prepared we can be for that possible future.”

Michelle Normand, ALMA’s Senior Manager, Industry and Market Development, recognizes the growth potential these enhancements could provide Alberta’s elk industry. “By increasing knowledge and heightening relationships, this initiative will help to strengthen the international presence of Canada and Alberta elk. These are encouraging steps to open up market opportunities for Alberta’s cervid industry.”

To learn more about AEC, please visit: http://www.albertaelkcommission.com/