Bringing the Farmer Voice Forward on China
With seeding now weeks away, farmers are acutely concerned that China, our largest market for Canadian canola seed, has suspended canola export permits for Richardson International and Viterra and practically stopped all imports of canola seed into the country. China typically purchases 40% of Canada's canola seed exports annually, but has halted imports citing pest-related issues.
Understandably, the factors impacting the canola market are creating uncertainty for farmers as they prepare to enter the fields. For many, seed and fertilizer purchases were made months ago to meet their crop rotation and seeding plans. Additionally, delivery and price options for canola stored on-farm are affected until the market re-opens or new customers are found. With many operating expenses already committed and increased market uncertainty, managing cash flow is top of mind for canola farmers.
Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) represents 43,000 canola farmers across Canada and is the national grower association representing Canada's five provincial canola grower associations. CCGA is also a member of the Canola Council of Canada.
CCGA is keenly aware of the impact that market access issues with China are having on canola farmers and is communicating these concerns to the highest levels of Government. We have written to the Prime Minister, as well as the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade Diversification, and Agriculture and Agri-Food. Last week, CCGA attended meetings with the Minister of Trade and the Minister of Agriculture. This week, CCGA representatives are in Ottawa to meet with government decision makers.
Together with other industry partners, we support a science-based resolution and a resumption of trade as soon as possible. The Canola Council of Canada is in regular contact with Government officials, who are working to better understand China's concerns and to determine a science-based, sustainable solution for Canada and for China.
CCGA remains confident in the quality of Canadian canola and the ability of our farmers to consistently meet the high safety and quality standards required by the Government of Canada and our export customers.
A resolution to this issue is required for farmers, for our agri-food sector and for Canada. The negative effects will multiply throughout the Canadian economy. China is the largest buyer of canola, and canola is Canada's number one export to China. Canola generates $26.7 billion in economic activity for the Canadian economy and employs over 250,000 Canadians across our country. In 2017, canola was the single largest contributor to farm cash receipts in Canada.
CCGA is committed to working with our industry partners and the Government of Canada to find a path forward. The Association is calling on the Government of Canada to ensure a resolution to this issue remains a top priority for our most senior officials. A high-level delegation to China would provide the opportunity to get officials together face-to-face, to share information and drive a solution.
In the coming weeks CCGA will continue to work with its provincial canola grower association members (B.C. Grain Producers Association, Alberta Canola, SaskCanola, Manitoba Canola Growers Association and Ontario Canola Growers Association) and the Canola Council of Canada to ensure the voice of the 43,000 farmers who grow canola is central and to press for a solution.