Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Canada's canola farmers have found willing buyers in Europe since being shut out of the Chinese market.

Todd Korol/Reuters

Crop-scorching drought in Europe is providing Canadian canola farmers a timely new opportunity to move supplies that have piled up since China stopped buying this year.

Rising European sales are taking some of the sting out of losing the Chinese market for Canadian farmers, although Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) canola futures prices are down 11 per cent from a year ago.

Beijing suspended the licences of Canadian exporters Richardson International Ltd. and Viterra Inc. this year and halted most other Canadian canola purchases, citing concerns about pests.

Story continues below advertisement

Meanwhile, drought that blighted planting, followed by pest attacks during the growing season, have put European Union rapeseed, as canola is known on that side of the Atlantic, on track for the smallest harvest in 13 years.

Canada and China have been locked in a diplomatic and trade dispute since December, when Canadian police arrested a Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive at the request of the United States. Canada is the world’s biggest canola producer and exporter, and China is usually its biggest market, crushing the crop into feed for fish and pigs, and into vegetable oil.

“With the challenges the Canadian industry has going into China right now, the big carry-out, a big crop coming, we’re looking for market access as an industry,” said Chad Molesky, merchandising manager at Viterra, which is half-owned by commodity trader Glencore PLC.

Canadian canola sales to the EU have climbed for several years. But this crop year they could range between 1.3 million and 2 million tonnes, more than double the record high, Mr. Molesky said. Canadian canola competes in the EU market with imports from the Black Sea region and Australia.

Canada exported 527,000 tonnes of canola to Western European countries from July, 2018, through June, 2019, according to the most recent Canadian Grain Commission data. Most shipments are to European crushers that process the oilseed into biodiesel, such as Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill Inc. and Avril SCA.

French consultancy Strategie Grains projects EU rapeseed imports to surge to a record 5.8 million tonnes in the 2019-20 season, up from 4.2 million in 2018-19.

“Canadian prices are ultracompetitive. They’re looking to ship their supplies and need to sell to Europe,” a European oilseed trader said.

Story continues below advertisement

Euronext rapeseed futures hit a one-year high on Thursday, factoring in the small crop.

Two vessels of canola left Canada this month, destined for France and Germany, according to Refinitiv data. Four set sail from Canada to Western Europe in July, one of which took the roundabout way to France from the western Canadian port of Vancouver, showing how far Canadian exporters are willing to go to sell canola.

Cargill Ltd., Viterra and Saudi Arabia-owned G3 are the only Canadian exporters certified to supply canola for European biodiesel.

Sales to the EU for biodiesel production require shippers and the farms they buy from to meet sustainability standards under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

Saskatchewan farmer Charlene Bradley said she would certify her farm to sell to Europe but the country elevators that buy her crops are not involved in the program.

Canadian farmers can become certified by filling out paperwork through their grain handler, and most already meet EU criteria, said Brian Innes, vice-president of the Canola Council of Canada industry group. A key requirement is that farmers are producing crops from land that has been in cultivation since at least 2008.

Story continues below advertisement

“Especially given what’s going on with China, anything to increase the market would be a good thing,” Ms. Bradley said.

Chinese buyers have lately made small purchases of Canadian canola, but shipping privileges of Richardson and Viterra remain suspended, Mr. Innes said.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies