Demand for Canadian durum is down in two leading markets

Bakers Journal
December 17, 2018
Written by Bakers Journal
The Canadian Wheat New Crop Missions 2018 are taking place over six weeks and includes missions to 17 top markets for wheat and durum. The current market is difficult for durum growers, as prices are well below the cost of production.

The primary goal of the missions is to inform Canada’s top customers about the quality of the 2018 harvest and how they can expect Canadian wheat and durum to perform in their mills, bakeries and pasta, couscous and Asian noodle plants. The missions are also about maintaining relationships and dialog with customers. These relationships, which are important during times of normal trade, become even more critical when issues arise that impede the free flow of agricultural commodities.

Canadian exports of durum account for approximately 50 per cent of the world’s durum trade. When the demand for Canadian exports are down, the world price follows. And demand is down in two of our leading markets: Italy and Algeria. In Italy we are seeing the impact of the protectionist country of origin labelling laws and the campaign against Canadian durum being run by the Italian farm group Coldiretti. Algeria has focused on their larger than normal domestic crop to serve their domestic market – but this durum is not of the same quality as Canadian.

Saskatchewan produces approximately 80 per cent of the durum grown in Canada, so the participation of a Saskatchewan farmer is a natural fit. The goal of our trip is to re-enforce the value of Canadian durum in markets that are not buying like they have in the past and to support customers, like Morocco, who remain loyal customers.

The issue of Italian country of origin labelling for pasta will be discussed as will Italian concerns about pesticide residues. On the latter issue, farmers can do a great deal to keep markets open by following the best management practices to limit residues and mycotoxins.

The Canadian Wheat New Crop Missions 2018 are organized and coordinated through three organizations: Cereals Canada, Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) and the Canadian Grain Commission. This is the first year Sask Wheat has attended the missions.

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