Canadian Canola Continues Restricted Access To China

Next crop year Canada will still have some access to China, its largest canola customer, and for that it’s grateful.

But estimated exports of up to 1.5 million tonnes in 2010-11 will be half of the 2.8 million tonnes worth $1.3 billion exported in 2008-09, according to a Canola Council of Canada news release.

Last November China announced a ban on canola imports that weren’t blackleg free. Since the fungus disease is widespread in Canada it’s almost impossible to meet that requirement.

The Canadian government and canola industry negotiated “transi -tional measures,” which allowed Canadian canola to be exported to several Chinese crushing plants that are not near China’s rapeseed-growing areas. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced last week that agreement will continue into the new crop year, which begins Aug. 1.

“This is good news for Canadian canola producers who depend on the Chinese market, but we realize there’s still a lot of work left to do before canola trade with China is fully normalized,” Ritz said in a statement June 14. “Today’s agreement is securing the conditions to export the 2010 crop year, and we will continue to find a long-term solution to this issue.”

Canada’s canola industry is grateful for Ottawa’s hard work on the issue, said Canola Council of Canada president JoAnne Buth.

“While the extension keeps the door slightly open to China, it doesn’t open it any wider,” she said. “We still have only very limited access, so we will continue to work with China to address their blackleg concerns and to restore full trade.”

As of April 2010, Canada had shipped 1.62 million tonnes of canola to China so far during the current (2009-10) crop year. Just over one million tonnes of it was exported before China’s new restrictions came into effect Nov. 15, 2009.

Canada is undertaking co-operative studies with China to analyze ways to mitigate the transfer of blackleg to China’s crop, and to undertake dairy feed trials to increase the value of canola meal in China, the canola council said.

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