Food, fuel and fertilizer: these are the ‘three Fs’ commonly used to describe the Saskatchewan economy over the last decade or so.
Urban legends about the phrase’s origin vary. At a recent NSBA luncheon, Paul Martin, the ever knowledgeable and unrivalled expert on the Saskatchewan economy, joked that it was either himself, Brad Wall, or someone else who coined it.
But I propose there should be more than three Fs – five, in fact.
No explanation is needed for why the first three Fs are so fitting. Saskatchewan’s diverse agriculture and agri-food sector is world renowned. We are an energy giant, with the most diverse primary energy resource base in Canada, and home to the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposits. Our province also has the largest potash industry in the world.
So, what are the further two Fs?
The first of these, in my humble opinion, should be First Nations. The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action aptly summarize the importance of social and economic reconciliation. This is one of, if not the most important economic growth opportunity for Saskatchewan. And while there is much more to do, there has been recent progress. The importance of Indigenous leadership and participation in the Saskatchewan economy cannot be summed up in a short article, nor done justice by someone as unqualified as me. But there can be no doubt that greater economic participation for Saskatchewan’s Indigenous communities and businesses is central to how this province can grow.
The fifth F? Future. The future economy will be driven by tech and innovation, creating new products, processes and services that meet market needs via knowledge and ideas. Saskatchewan’s tech sector is already doing just that. The critical minerals and rare earth elements sector is another area where innovation and market demand will drive growth for Saskatchewan. Additionally, the innovation and research strength of organizations linked to the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina and their focus to ‘solve global problems’ will continue to prove that the future is here, as they say, in Saskatchewan.
Food. Fuel. Fertilizer. First Nations. Future. Fallon’s five Fs for economic growth.
That’s what’s on my mind; let me know your thoughts.