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Agriculture

Chinese evidence behind canola impasse? ‘So far we’ve heard nothing,’ Carr says

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OTTAWA — Canada still hasn’t seen the evidence China used to block canola shipments from one of Canada’s largest grain producers, International Trade Minister Jim Carr said Wednesday in an interview.

A Chinese government spokesman has said Beijing’s move this month to suspend canola imports from Richardson International Ltd. came after “hazardous organisms” were detected in the company’s product.

Carr said Canada is pushing to solve the economically important matter — but it needs China to provide proof to back up the claims.

“We continue to ask Chinese officials for any evidence that this canola has any problems that can be proven with any scientific base or any scientific evidence — and so far we’ve heard nothing,” he said in a phone interview from Saskatoon, where he was talking to business leaders about making the most of opportunities created by Canada’s major trade deals.

“It’s a concern because we are a major exporter of canola to the world and we produce the finest canola in the world. It’s a very important part of our trade mix and we want to get to the bottom of it and we want to get to the bottom of it fast.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley issued a statement last week demanding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fight for canola farmers and all related jobs.

“We are calling on Ottawa to stop its navel-gazing about its internal controversies and fight back,” she said.

Notley added the issue could cost Alberta farmers hundreds of millions of dollars and lead to a loss of up to 3,000 jobs.

China’s decision to reject shipments of one of Canada’s key exports comes with the two countries in a diplomatic dispute that erupted after the December arrest of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the behest of the United States.

On March 1, Canada’s Justice Department gave the go-ahead for the extradition case against Meng, which marked the formal start of the high-profile process that has thrust Canada into a highly uncomfortable position between the two superpowers.

In the days following Meng’s arrest, China arrested Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur, on allegations of engaging in activities that have endangered Chinese national security.

The men remain in Chinese custody and their arrests have been interpreted as attempts by Beijing to pressure Canada into releasing Meng.

China also sentenced another Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, to death in a sudden retrial of his drug-smuggling case.

Asked whether there’s a link between the Meng case and the canola impasse, Carr said the government has no evidence of one.

“We’re treating it as a science issue, which is why we’re pressing Chinese officials to show us the science.”

Carr said the federal government has been contacting Chinese officials in Beijing and at the country’s embassy in Ottawa to find out why the blocked canola is considered to be “anything less than the very high (quality) canola that we know we are shipping abroad.”

On the status of formal Canada-China trade talks in general, Carr described it as a “difficult period” in a very long relationship that, for example, saw Richardson sign its first deal in China in 1910. 

“It’s difficult because of the detention of Canadian citizens and we have been very clear about the importance of resolving that issue,” he said. “There are always conversations between officials, but I would say that it’s not an active period of those kinds of discussions.”

Carr said he looked forward to talking about Canada’s recently ratified trade agreements in Saskatchewan, which he noted is the province with the most diversified export markets.

He said 44 per cent of Saskatchewan’s exports last year were shipped to countries other than the United States — the most of any province.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Ag Business

With the world’s population soaring to 10 billion people, Robert Saik explores how farmers “might” be able to feed everyone

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Earth’s population will be close to 10 billion people by 2050.  So consider this line from Robert Saik’s “FOOD 5.0″…

“In order to feed the world, we have to grow 10,000 years’ worth of food in the next 30 years, which means farmers worldwide must increase their food production by 60 to 70%.”

If that doesn’t wake you up… probably nothing can.  How will farmers do it?  Even with today’s technology this it going to take an overwhelming international effort to avoid a mass-starvation.

His first book, “The Agriculture Manifesto – Ten Key Drivers That Will Shape Agriculture in the Next Decade” was a 2014 Best of Amazon Books and this TEDx Talk “Will Agriculture be Allowed to Feed 9 Billion People?” has been viewed over 150,000 times.

In a time where more and more people (in the first world) are demanding to know where their food is coming from and how food is being produced, “FOOD 5.0 How We Feed The Future” should be required reading.

Robert Saik in the Author Hour Podcast:

“Food 5.0, How We Feed the Future was written for an urban audience, more so than a farming audience. My mental image of who I wrote the book for was a 33-year-old mom in a city with some kids who is working and raising her kids.”

“We live in a time now where all the technologies are smashing together–they are converging on the farm to reshape the farm in ways that urban people just simply do not understand. It is happening at a breakneck pace and farms are far more sophisticated, far more advanced than people realize.”

” you’re going to realize and learn a lot about food production and a lot about marketing.”

In FOOD 5.0 How We Feed The Future, Robert Saik examines “how technology convergence is reshaping the farm and the consumer”.

Robert has been hailed as an agriculture futurist with unparalleled insight into where the industry is headed.  He’s worked with a variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture to Bill Gates.

He is the CEO of DOT Farm Solutions, which supports farmers adopting autonomous robotics in broad acre agriculture.  He’s also the founder of AG Viser Pro, a platform that Uber-izes knowledge and wisdom, enabling farmers to instantaneously connect with agriculture experts worldwide.

Robert is a passionate keynote speaker and is executive producer of the Know Ideas Media a science based multi-media company addressing issues such as GMO’s and their use in food production.  (Know Ideas Media is a partner in Todayville.com/Agriculture)

He serves on several Boards, is an advisor to Olds College, is a member of the A100 (Alberta Tech Entrepreneur Network), a student of Strategic Coach and Singularity University and a member of Abundance 360.  As a partner in Perigro Venture Partners he participates in early stage technology investments.

He been recognized for agriculture leadership by the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (Provincial Distinguished Agrologist of the Year) and in 2016 was awarded Canadian Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association.

Here’s a story produced by Todayville on Robert’s visit to Seattle to brief Bill Gates.

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Agriculture

Prospect of U.S.-China trade deal creates access worries for Canadian farmers

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Canola oil

OTTAWA — China’s move to stop buying several Canadian agricultural products has punished some farmers, and now industry leaders are worrying about the prospect of a broader threat — an eventual U.S.-China trade deal.

Canadian exports of beef, pork, canola and soybeans have largely been locked out of the massive Chinese market following the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.

At the same time, a handful of Canadian crops have had stronger sales to China over the past year, such as Canadian wheat, thanks to trade-related tariffs imposed by the U.S.

Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance president Brian Innes says Canada may see indirect benefits from the trade war in the short term — but he worries a deal down the road could have a negative impact on farm exports to China.

Innes says President Donald Trump has been clear that any trade deal must include China agreeing to make major agricultural purchases from the U.S.

He says Canadian exporters would like to see the government push for the removal of non-tariff barriers in other foreign markets — such as those in Europe and the Pacific Rim — because they have prevented farmers from fully benefiting from multilateral trade deals.

At the moment, there are few signs of progress in the U.S.-China trade talks, but negotiators are expected to meet next month.

The Canadian Press

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august, 2019

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