Trade and market access are top priorities for the Canola Council of Canada (CCC), president Jim Everson told the CCC’s annual meeting here March 7.
It’s not surprising given 90 per cent of Canada’s canola is exported.
Last year was pivotal because new major trade agreements were taking shape or coming into force, he said.
“The stakes were high with both NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the agenda,” Everson said. The canola industry spent countless hours working with government officials and partners behind the scenes ensuring that the industry’s needs were understood and addressed in the final texts.”
The revised NAFTA meets the CCC’s goals by maintaining continental free trade for canola seed, oil and meal and a dispute settlement mechanism.
In addition, tariffs on Canadian margarine, which is made with canola, will be eliminated — something the CCC thanked Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland for when she spoke at the Canadian Crops Convention the day before.
“When you factor in the Canada-European Trade Agreement that took place in 2017 this (free trade in canola) is now the case with markets that represent two-thirds of the world’s economy,” Everson said. “This preferential access goes beyond just increasing exports. It enables us to get most of our canola into export markets so the benefits can ripple through the value chain and throughout the Canadian economy.”
Canada produced 20.3 million tonnes of canola in 2018 on 22.8 million acres, averaging 39.8 bushels an acre, he said.
The CCC’s 2025 goal is to produce 26 million tonnes from 22 million acres with yields averaging 52 bushels an acre.
Last year Canada exported 10 million and 9.3 million tonnes of canola seed and products, respectively.
Seed exports were not far below the record set in 2017, Everson said.
“For the second year in a row we set a new record for domestic processing,” he said. “That means we have more exports of canola oil and meal. It’s exciting because Canada gets more value.”
The CCC’s 2025 goal is to export 12 million and 14 million tonnes of seed and processed canola.