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Selling Canadian wheat abroad is a team effort

  • Mar 22, 2018

Canada uses a boots on the ground approach to sell 10 different wheat classes and durum to buyers around the world, say export experts.

New Crop Missions is a delegation that includes representatives from Cereals Canada, Canadian Grain Commission, Canadian International Grains Institute, commonly known as Cigi, grain companies and one producer. New Crop Missions sent to more than 20 countries that typically purchase at least 500,000 metric tonnes of Canadian wheat annually.

Different buyers

Cigi says the sessions are attended by millers, bakers, pasta makers, government buying agencies and traders. There are many questions about quantity and price, but quality is most important because Canadian wheat is used for blending.

"They want good quality Canadian wheat that can carry wheats from around the world that don't have such good end product quality," says Dean Dias, CIGI's director of value chain relations.

High quality 2017 crop

Cigi says Canada had a great story to tell with over 95 per cent of Canada Western Red Spring Wheat grading No. 1 and 2. The average protein content was 13.1 per cent. Over 90 per cent of Canadian Western Amber Durum was in top two grades, with an average protein content of 13.6 per cent.

This was in sharp contrast with 2016 when fusarium downgraded more than half of the production. A drier growing season meant that fusarium downgrades in CWRS were only 3.5 per cent this year.

The role of farmers

Kevin Auch was part of the trade mission to Latin America in November with stops in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico. The farmer from Carmangay, Alta., about 60 kilometres north of Lethbridge, says buyers were interested in how Canadian wheat is grown.

"The whole world is getting health conscious, so they want to make sure that when we are applying crop protection products, we are doing things properly," Auch says.

He says it is very important to have a farmer talking directly to the end user of the wheat.

"We are the face of the Canadian farmer when we are in these markets," he says. "They see that we are real people and are actually concerned about the quality and the health of the products that we are producing." 

Bottom line

Trade missions build and maintain relationships and allow wheat buyers to provide feedback to the Canadian value chain. The missions also ensure crops are meeting quality and health needs buyers are looking for.

Article by: Neil Billinger