Canola farmers still uncertain about Chinese market access

Canola farmers still uncertain about Chinese market access
WATCH ABOVE: For many canola farmers, the new products displayed at Ag in Motion can't help with one of their biggest concerns.

Western Canada’s largest agriculture show doesn’t have a solution for Canadian canola farmers.

An estimated 30,000 people are expected to pass through the gates of Ag in Motion over the three days as it takes place near Langham, Sask., northwest of Saskatoon.

The event takes place against an uncertain future for Canada’s canola farmers as they have limited access to the Chinese market.

“Lots of guys are worrying about that so they’ve went away from growing so much canola,” said Spencer James, who works on a canola farm.

READ MORE: Timeline: Here’s how the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou unfolded

China, which accounts for about 40 per cent of Canada’s exported canola, banned Canadian firms Richardson and the Regina-based Viterra in March following the arrest of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in December.

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“I think this year is probably — and the year ahead — probably one of the more challenging ones that I’ve seen in the 30 years that I’ve been doing this,” Glacier Farm Media market analyst Mike Jubinville said on Tuesday.

Jubinville said the problem is out of the control of the farmers.

“With the political dynamics at play here, a lot of them not even having to do with agriculture at all, it is affecting our canola trade significantly,” he said.

READ MORE: Ottawa increases loan limits for canola farmers to $1 million amid China trade dispute

Since receiving notice from the Chinese government on March 1, the federal government has increased the loan limits available to canola farmers, known as the advanced payments plan, and extended a deadline for the insurance available, known as AgriStability. It has also increased the limit of the advance available to canola farmers to $1 million, up from $400,000.

It has also conducted trade missions to Japan and South Korea, a strategy which Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe approves.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan premier welcomes federal loan relief for canola farmers

“Ultimately that is the solution,” he said.

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“The solution is not more support for our farmers, although that is necessary. In the interim, what we really need is market access and the ability to get those products to market.”

According to the federal government’s website, the Canadian canola industry contributes $27 billion to the economy.