Looking Ahead: Marketing of harvested grains for export markets
Joint Message from Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Agri Business Association and Seeds Canada
May 11, 2021
As Ontario farmers and agri-businesses begin the busy spring planting season, Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Agri Business Association and Seeds Canada remind farmers and the entire supply chain of the need for stewardship to protect market access and enable access to innovation. This includes adhering to established marketing channels for corn hybrids that have not yet received import approvals in key markets, such as the European Union (EU).
Stewardship is a shared commitment along the value chain, from seed developers to farmers to grain marketers, and is designed to address a range of issues including the lengthy process to secure trait approval in some export markets.
All corn hybrids sold in Ontario are approved for cultivation and for use as food and feed within Canada and the U.S. The majority of corn hybrids sold in Ontario have also received import authorization in many importing countries. However, delays and uncertainty in the EU’s regulatory process present a particular challenge for Ontario’s corn value chain as both individual traits and stacked products (i.e. a combination of individual traits) require regulatory approval. As a result of these delays, trait stacks for certain corn hybrids sold in Ontario are not currently approved in the EU (please see https://seedinnovation.ca/hybrid/ and/or company seed guides for more information).
While the majority (approx. 90%) of corn grown in Ontario is used domestically, maintaining and expanding access to export markets for both corn and processed by-products is vital for a profitable corn value chain. The EU continues to be an important and growing market for Canadian corn representing 56% of total exports sales in 2020. In 2020, seven of the top 10 export markets for Canadian corn were EU member countries.
Farmers are encouraged to follow product stewardship guidelines where necessary. Seed distributors have contacted farmers that have purchased seed to make them aware of marketing limitations that exist. Farmers should contact their seed supplier if they are unaware or unsure of any stewardship requirements in place. If a farmer does plant non-EU approved varieties, they should contact their grain buyer to determine if they will be receiving these varieties in fall 2021. Farmers can continue to market corn with non-approved traits by following established stewardship requirements into appropriate channels that may include domestic feed and ethanol markets.
Access to innovation and export markets are both vital to our sector. The supply chain supports the responsible introduction and adoption of new technologies for Ontario’s farmers, which take into account regulatory approvals domestically and in key export markets which helps all participants within the agri-food value chain maintain competitiveness and profitability, manage risk, and expand market access in a competitive global marketplace. The supply chain also supports stewardship, including adherence to appropriate grain channeling, as required, so Ontario grain farmers and exporters continue to have unfettered access to key export markets.