Canola farmers still uncertain about Chinese market access
An estimated 30,000 people are expected to pass through the gates of Ag in Motion over the three days as it takes place near the village of Langham, Sask., northwest of Saskatoon.
But the event takes place against an uncertain future for Canada’s canola farmers as they have limited access to the Chinese market.
“Lots of guys are worrying about that so they’ve went away from growing so much canola,” said Spencer James, who works on a canola farm.
China, which accounts for about 40 per cent of Canada’s exported canola, banned Canadian firms Richardson and the Regina-based Viterra in March following the arrest of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in December.
“I think this year is probably—and the year ahead— probably one of the more challenging ones that I’ve seen in the 30 years that I’ve been doing this,” Glacier Farm Media market analyst Mike Jubinville said on Tuesday.
Jubinville said that the problem is out of the control of the farmers.
“With the political dynamics at play here, a lot of them not even having to do with agriculture at all, it is affecting our canola trade significantly,” he said.
Since receiving notice from the Chinese government on March 1, the federal government has increased the loan limits available to canola farmers, known as the advanced payments plan, and extended a deadline for the insurance available, known as AgriStability. It has also increased the limit of the advance available to canola farmers to $1 million, up from $400,000.
It has also conducted trade missions to Japan and South Korea, a strategy which Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe approves.
“Ultimately that is the solution,” he said.
“The solution is not more support for our farmers, although that is necessary. In the interim, what we really need is market access and the ability to get those products to market.”
According to the federal government’s website, the Canadian canola industry contributes $27 million to the economy.