Mexico allowing clean Canadian canaryseed

(Commodity News Service Canada) — Canaryseed producers in Canada are once again able to export product to their No. 1 client, Mexico, although there is zero tolerance on any type of weed seed.

“If it’s found to be free of quarantined weed seeds it can proceed to the buyers in Mexico,” said Kevin Hursh, a Saskatoon ag consultant, writer and executive director of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan.

“However, if it’s found to have weed seeds, it’ll have to go for a re-cleaning in Mexico. But officially their (Mexico’s) tolerance on unclean seed is still zero.”

Since June 2010, any shipments that were found to have weed seed were automatically rejected, without going for a re-cleaning.

Numerous efforts have been made by officials in Canada to try and reach a deal with officials with Senasica, Mexico’s national food safety agency, to allow a lower tolerance of weed seed, but a consensus was not reached.

“Canadian officials have tried to get Mexico to allow a reasonable tolerance level and we’ve been unable to do that so we’ve gone back to this system,” Hursh said.

The current system is a six-month program that will allow both countries to monitor the exports.

Carl Potts, with the Canadian Special Crops Association in Winnipeg, said when it became apparent a permanent agreement would not be reached, Canadian officials decided to pursue a temporary one.

“We realized exporters needed to move product, growers needed to move product, and importers in Mexico were quite interested in importing more product,” Potts said.

“Hopefully we can get to a situation where Mexico is happy with our performance of the product and move to a situation where we aren’t requiring a lot of shipments to go for further re-cleaning.”

The allowance of product to Mexico could be good news for the market, Hursh said.

“It’ll depend on the other factors, including what the trade perceives will be Saskatchewan acreage in the upcoming year. But it is always a positive development for exporters and for producers when access is from your No. 1 client,” he said.

The 2010-11 Saskatchewan canaryseed crop was 137,800 tonnes, down from 160,300 the previous year.

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