CALGARY, AB: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers demands that the Federal Government stands up for farmers on the China trade file. In the past crop year farmers have lost access to the Italian durum market as well as the pulse market in India. Now China has cut off Canadian canola exports and in the past several days added wheat, peas and flax to the list.
“First Italy shut us out on durum, then India hit us on our pulse crop, now our biggest trading partner, China, has restricted wheat access. Last year China was our largest purchaser of wheat and canola, importing approximately $250 million of wheat and $4 billion of canola products. This will be a huge hit to farmers, the Canadian economy and the jobs that depend on agriculture like processing, rail road and at our exporting ports,” said Daryl Fransoo, Director.
This is clearly a political issue, not a quality issue. Canadian wheat and canola are the best in the world. As a political issue, we need the Canadian government to be engaged on this immediately. The Ministers of Agriculture and Agri-Food, International Trade Diversification and Foreign Affairs need this issue to be their top priority. We need a full-time Ambassador to China appointed now. The Wheat Growers Board of Directors would gladly join these Ministers on the next flight to China to meet and resolve this problem face to face.
The Wheat Growers recognize that we need to build alternate markets that will mitigate political interference in wheat exports. While other Canadian markets are being given tax dollar support for smaller market changes, the wheat, canola, flax and peas markets are being decimated. “We are not asking for handouts, rather we ask that politicians actually deal with the political issues at hand and let farmers deal with what we do best. Canada has just lost its biggest wheat trading partner, it doesn’t get any more serious than that,” stated Jim Wickett, Chair.
About the Wheat Growers:
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.