GUELPH, ON (January 28, 2011) – Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Grain Farmers of Ontario chair, Don Kenny recently returned from a two day trade mission in Brussels, Belgium to advocate for a GM tolerance level for future shipments.
The European Union (EU), Canada’s largest export market for soybeans, currently has no tolerance for even minuscule traces of unapproved GM (genetically modified) material in imported grain shipments. Meetings were held with EU Commissioners, Members of Parliament and key industry representatives to emphasize the importance of supporting science-based trade regulations.
“Canada exported almost a million tonnes of soybeans to the EU in 2009 and the zero tolerance rules are a big threat to future exports,” says Kenny. “Allowing a low-level presence of unapproved GM in future grain shipments would be a great benefit to our soybean farmers.”
2010 was a phenomenal year for soybean production in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba as a record 4.2 million tonnes were produced. Of this production, approximately 2.7 million tonnes will be exported.
“Grain Farmers of Ontario is committed to protecting and expanding our soybean export markets and this trip was an excellent opportunity to discuss this important issue with EU officials,” says Kenny.
Grain Farmers of Ontario was proud to represent our country on this trade mission to the EU and would like to thank Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz for advocating for a low-level tolerance of unapproved GM material in future grain shipments from Canada.
Grain Farmers of Ontario
Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 corn, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.