In light of recent events, the Manitoba government wishes to convey its strong continued support for the canola industry in this province, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen and Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler said today. In 2018, Manitoba seeded about 3.4 million acres of canola, which is almost 30 per cent of Manitoba’s entire cropland.
“Canola is a key driver of the agriculture industry in this province and in this country, and is Manitoba’s second-largest export product to China,” Pedersen said. “We have had discussions as recently as this morning with the federal government to press them on resolving this issue as soon as possible as our farmers are already making decisions for the upcoming crop year. We will continue to push this matter so that our producers are not caught in the crossfire of an international dispute between Canada and China.”
On March 1, Richardson International was notified by China’s General Administration of Customs that its registration to ship canola had been cancelled. China is Manitoba’s second-largest trading partner, with over $2.6 billion in two-way trade in 2017, and an important market for Manitoban businesses.
“This move by the Chinese government is not science-based, as we know that all canola exported out of Canada is rigorously inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,” Eichler said. “We will stand up for our farmers and the agri-food industry in Manitoba and work to ensure that this issue is resolved as soon as possible so the best canola in the world, grown right here by our producers, can continue to feed the world.”
Both ministers noted that they have had positive and collaborative discussions on this issue, particularly with federal International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr and federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, as well as discussions with counterparts across the prairies. In addition to discussing the situation directly with Richardson International, they will continue to have broader discussions with the Canadian Canola Growers Association and with Keystone Agricultural Producers.
Canada exported $3.6 billion worth of canola to China in 2017, creating 16,150 jobs in China. In 2017, exports of canola seed and products generated $1.72 billion for Manitoba’s economy. About 40 per cent of Manitoba’s farms grow canola, representing about 18 per cent of all canola farms in Canada.