Japan increases demand for canola

A canola field near Pincher Creek, Alta. (Laughingmango/E+/Getty Images)

MarketsFarm — Japan has continued to generate an increased demand for canola, according to Daisuke Sasatani, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) attaché in Tokyo.

Sasatani said approximately 98 per cent of Japan’s canola imports are from Canada, while Australia supplies the remainder. The attaché estimated Japan’s canola imports in 2020-21 are to rise by 3.3 per cent at about 2.32 million compared to those in the previous marketing year. The attaché also projected the country’s imports to increase further in 2021-22 at 2.33 million tonnes.

In comparison to domestic production, Japan harvested a mere 4,000 tonnes of canola/rapeseed in 2019-20, as well as in 2020-21, with expectations holding the same for 2021-22, according to Sasatani’s report. With the country’s domestic consumption projected to be nearly 2.32 million tonnes in 2020-21, it’s extremely dependent on canola imports from Canada.

The most recent data from the Canadian Grain Commission showed canola exports to Japan were at around 1.35 million tonnes as of February. That’s an increase of 10.6 per cent compared to the same time last year. Japan remains as Canada’s No. 2 canola buyer.

Sasatani pegged Japan’s soybean imports, largely from the U.S., at 3.12 million tonnes for the current marketing year. That’s about 8.7 per cent less than the USDA’s official projection and down 6.7 per cent from imports in 2019-20. The attaché forecast soybean imports to bump up to 3.264 million tonnes in 2021-22.

Sasatani noted that at-home food consumption spiked in Japan with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased the demand for canola oil. Conversely, hotel-restaurant-industrial (HRI) use, which is dependent on soyoil, declined. That led the country’s three largest oil crushers — Nisshin Oillio, J-Oil Mills and Showa Sangyo — to cut back on processing soybeans and switch to crushing more canola.

Besides canola oil consumption in Japan, that for meal is to increase slightly over the current and next marketing years. Sasatani estimated Japan’s use of canola meal at more than 1.16 million tonnes in 2019-20, which was bumped up to over 1.17 million for 2020-21 and is expected to rise to nearly 1.2 million in 2021-22.

— Compiled by Glen Hallick for MarketsFarm.

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