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Agriculture

Canada looking for new canola customers, pushing China to verify claims: Carr

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OTTAWA — Canada is looking for new Asian customers for its canola to answer China’s ban on many shipments of the product, says International Trade Minister Jim Carr.

The Canadian government is also still pushing China to allow a Canadian delegation to visit the People’s Republic to verify complaints that Canadian canola is contaminated with pests, Carr said in an interview.

So far, China hasn’t agreed to requests for a Canadian delegation to test its unproven concerns. China has rejected Canadian canola-seed shipments in recent months and has suspended the licences of two major Canadian exporters.

The government requested permission on April 1 for inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to visit China, but so far there has been no response.

The CFIA has twice inspected the shipments in question and found no impurities, Carr told The Canadian Press on Saturday, prior to the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“We want to have a science conversation with the Chinese to verify any allegations that the very high quality Canadian canola has any impurities at all. We’re looking to have that proven to us,” the minister said. “We will send a high-level delegation as soon as that invitation is sent to us. Meanwhile, it’s important that we look for other markets for our canola and certainly the Asia-Pacific is among them, including Japan.”

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has also written to her Chinese counterparts to press the issue, he added.

Asked why he thinks the Chinese have been delaying, Carr replied: “I can’t speak for them.”

On Monday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pressure China by pulling hundreds of millions of dollars Ottawa has committed to Beijing’s multilateral development bank.

The Liberal government has committed $256 million over five years to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, in the hopes that Canada can help guide its decisions and that Canadian companies will get business from the development projects it promotes. Dozens of countries outside Asia are participants in the bank, from Madagascar to Ireland to Norway.

Scheer also demanded Trudeau take several more-immediate steps, including appointing a new ambassador to China, launching a complaint about the canola dispute with the World Trade Organization and increasing financial support for farmers caught in the crossfire of what has become a broader diplomatic spat between the two countries.

“By doing nothing, this policy of appeasement that Justin Trudeau has pursued with the government in China has clearly not worked,” Scheer said.

China’s decision to cut off Canadian canola-seed shipments is widely viewed as an attempt to apply economic pressure on Canada following the December arrest of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the behest of the United States. China is the usual destination for about 40 per cent of Canadian canola, a major source of oil used for cooking and some industrial purposes.

In the days following Meng’s arrest, China arrested two Canadian citizens on allegations of engaging in activities that have endangered Chinese national security. Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur, are still being held by Chinese authorities in what the Trudeau government has called arbitrary detentions.

Weeks later, Trudeau fired Canada’s former ambassador to China, John McCallum, for going off-script in the government’s efforts to win the release of the two men. Before his posting in Beijing, McCallum was a longtime Liberal MP and cabinet minister.

Scheer tried to cast the canola fight as just one example of the Liberals’ failures on the foreign-policy front.

“There’s been no reaction, there have been no consequences to the government of China for detaining our citizens and blocking our exports,” Scheer said.

“I believe that when a country stands up for itself and shows that there are consequences to mistreating our citizens and blocking our exports that that will be when China recognizes that they should not pursue this course of actions.”

The Liberal government has established a working group to address the canola issue and asked to send a delegation of experts to China to examine the complaints and says it has been exploring options to provide financial support to farmers.

Trudeau and Abe discussed Canada’s ongoing feud with China over the detainees and canola during the Japanese leader’s two-day visit to Ottawa over the weekend.

China is “trying to impose its approach on countries around the world. As countries like Japan and Canada continue to engage economically with China we have to deal with some of these challenges,” Trudeau said.

Canada and Japan are united in their approach to China because of their shared democratic values, and adherence to the rule of law and respect for human rights, Abe said.

“We shall have to raise our voices in unity together so that China will go towards a positive, constructive role,” said Abe.

Mike Blanchfield and 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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