There it was tucked away on Page 3 of today’s Calgary Herald — apparently there is some disease outbreak that has greater importance — but there on Page 3 a report that China appears to be prepared to lift its yearlong ban on Canadian canola imports.
It is a notch above the rumour stage, but still has to be confirmed at a couple levels both in China and with the Canadian ag minister’s office, but it certainly sounds like something is moving forward. There were details in the news report about both countries agreeing that the level of foreign material allowed in canola shipments must be less than one per cent. That may prove a challenge for Canadian companies assembling and processing canola to meet shipping standards, but time will tell.
Of course this report was published in the April 1 issue of the Calgary Herald. It could be an April Fools joke, but it didn’t have the feel. The real joke was that the ban was imposed in the first place back in March 2019.
Meanwhile the Canola Council of Canada is approaching the news with some caution. Here is the statement they released March 31st.
Canola Council statement on state of market access to China
March 31, 2020 – Recent discussions between the governments of Canada and China have resulted in some media regarding the trade in canola. The Canola Council of Canada has the following statement:
- The world remains gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic and global supply chains to feed people and animals are more important than ever.
- Canadian and Chinese government officials had a call to discuss the trade in canola seed on March 30.
- China has informed Canada that the current trade in canola seed can continue.
- Canola shipments to China remain blocked as the licenses of two large exporters, Richardson and Viterra, to export canola seed to China remain suspended.
- Canada has been shipping about 30% of normal canola seed exports to China since March 2019.
We will see what unfolds over the coming days. If the news is accurate it should give Canadian farmers a bit more confidence in planning their crop rotations and seeding plans for the 2020 growing season.
Lee Hart is a field editor with Grainews based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]