China barred imports of canola seed from two major Canadian exporters last month, citing dangerous pests found in shipments.
Interlake, Man., canola producer Colin Crockatt said he’s staying the course with canola despite the ongoing trade dispute.
“It’s kind of hard,” said Crockatt. “We don’t have too many other options.
“It’s definitely affected the price.”
Keystone Agricultural Producers president Bill Campbell said the price is down between $1 to $1.30 per bushel.
“It has brought about a level of uncertainty that we are not accustomed to,” said Campbell. “We have learned to deal with mother nature, we have learned to deal with management practices and we are good at what we do but when it becomes political, it’s another challenge altogether.
“I’ve been at this close to 45 years. This is the most uncertain year that we have ever gone into the growing season.”
Crockatt grows 600 acres of canola in Argyle, Man, which accounts for a third of his total crop.
He said because certain fields were fertilized in fall for canola it’s too late to change plans. He could plant soybeans instead but even the price farmers get for that crop has taken a hit.
“Buyers will still be buying canola, it’s whether you want to sell it for the price they’re offering,” said Crockatt.
About 40 per cent of Canada’s canola and canola products go to China.
Brian Innes with the Canola Council of Canada told CTV Winnipeg it’s continuing to work on the issue but there have been no new developments this week. The canola council said it’s focusing on diversifying exports, looking for new opportunities to market Canadian canola in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Europe.
In an emailed statement to CTV, Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler said China’s not following a science-based approach and called on the federal government to work on its relationship with the Chinese government to get answers.
“Our government is extremely disappointed by the lack of action taken by the federal government to address this situation and to address the real impacts producers are going to face going into the coming crop year,” said Eichler. “Producers need peace of mind that the federal government is working in their best interest so that canola grown here, which is the best in the world, can be sold in the global marketplace and so that producers are not paying the price of federal government inaction.”
Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a statement Ottawa is standing up for Canadian canola producers and reassured farmers she’ll have more to say soon.
“We are going to ensure they have the security they need. As the federal government prepares to roll out its measures to support farmers, we invite ideas and action from the provincial governments to do the same,” said Bibeau. “In addition, the Government of Canada Working Group on canola, made up of representatives from both industry and provincial and federal governments, has been discussing how best to support the sector, including diversifying into new markets.”