The midpoint of Canada’s interim agreement of a test-and-hold policy of canaryseed shipments is fast approaching, and there is still no word on what will be happening once the agreement expires on June 21.
“The interim period is continuing that allows cleaning upon arrival to occur in Mexico,” said Carl Potts of the Canadian Special Crops Association in Winnipeg. “As we understand it, all shipments of Canadian canaryseed are being recleaned once they arrive in Mexico unless they have zero weed seeds, but that is highly unlikely.”
Potts said the CFIA and Mexican officials are still a little ways away from finding a permanent solution to the problem.
“Mexico still wants to see an improvement in quarantined weed seeds in shipments during the remaining course of the period, and there have been some discussions on how, as an industry, we might go about doing that,” he said. “We are still quite uncertain as to what Mexico will require from us once the period expires.
“Over the course of the last several months, it has been hard to gauge when something would be agreed to, or what Mexico views as an acceptable or permanent outcome. They aren’t interested in acceptable tolerance levels.”
The additional cleaning in Mexico has not been good for prices, said Kevin Hursh, executive director of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan.
“It creates a lot of extra cost in the marketplace, and it is preventing canaryseed from reaching its market potential,” Hursh said.
Canadian officials are doing all that they can to increase confidence in the Mexican marketplace, said Potts.
“We are trying to demonstrate that we can ship product that is quite clean and meets the needs of Mexico, but realizing we can never guarantee no weed seeds,” he said. “We hope they can gain some confidence in the Canadian market so they can more willingly accept our product and not have to retest it as much.”