Members of the Alberta government are calling on Ottawa to stand with canola producers after China blocked imports
By Diego Flammini
The federal government needs to turn its attention west and support canola producers affected by a trade disruption, reps from Alberta’s government say.
On Tuesday, China announced it is blocking Canadian canola imports from Richardson International terminals due to perceived quality issues.
The company’s employees and the local canola industry need to be protected from unfair trade measures, said Rachel Notley, Alberta’s premier.
“Seventy per cent of agri-food exports to China from Alberta are canola-related products,” she said in a statement yesterday. “And canola farming contributes billions (of dollars) to the Canadian economy. So, today, I’m calling on the prime minister to get back on the job and fight for our canola farmers and the jobs they support.
“Alberta farmers and Alberta workers stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars and up to 3,000 jobs if this is not resolved.”
Notley wasn’t alone in her plea to the federal government to assist canola farmers.
Shannon Phillips, Alberta’s environment and parks minister, is also asking Ottawa, and specifically the federal ag minister, to ensure canola producers are taken care of.
“What I am calling on the federal agriculture minister to do is ensure the appropriate supports are in place for farm families, producers and others in southern Alberta,” she said yesterday, the Lethbridge Herald reported. “And to appropriately engage Alberta canola growers to ensure they have clarity on the steps the federal government is taking.”
Canola prices are down because of the situation with China.
In December, May futures prices hovered around $496 per tonne. News of the trade issue dropped May canola futures to about $456 per tonne as of Wednesday.
“Prices are down tremendously,” said Moe Agostino, chief commodity strategist with Farms.com Risk Management. “I don’t know if the price will drop much more but the markets are very worried. This is a problem at least in the short-term.”