Ginseng exports not in trouble as claimed

Chicken ginseng soup. (

MarketsFarm — China has not halted its ginseng imports from Canada despite allegations to the contrary, a spokesperson from Ginseng Ontario says.

Rebecca Coates, executive director for Ginseng Ontario, said China is only one of many export destinations for Canadian-grown ginseng. Other major buyers include Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Europe.

An official from another farm advocacy group recently suggested China stopped its ginseng imports from Canada.

“Our crop harvested from 2018 has sold and we await a plentiful harvest this fall,” Coates said.

Nearly the entire ginseng crop grown in Canada is from southwestern Ontario and ginseng values have varied from year to year as supply and demand have changed, she said.

Wet conditions in southwestern Ontario have resulted in high levels of inoculum of phytophthora, according a report from Ontario’s ministry of agriculture, food and rural affairs.

Ginseng is susceptible to “sporangia of the fungus, which are pouches full of swimming zoospores,” the report said. If the spores are washed from the leaves, that can infect the roots.

A spokesperson for the ministry said ginseng contributed about $152 million to Ontario farm cash receipts in 2018. There are about 9,800 ginseng growers in the province, who grow almost 2,500 tonnes annually, according to the 2016 Census of Agriculture.

— Glen Hallick writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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