The nature of the agriculture industry means that often, there are no guarantees. Some years are successful, while others present unique challenges. This past growing season, agriculture was affected multi-fold from a seeding, harvesting, and trade perspective.
In March 2019, China banned canola seed shipments from two Canadian grain companies, including Richardson International. The ongoing trade dispute has greatly affected the agriculture industry, especially farmers who have to find new market access for their canola products.
“Canola is a huge part of what we do, and we are focusing our energy on what we can control – executing on current business with our valued core customers and actively seeking new channels,” says Aaron Anderson, Vice-President, Grain Merchandising.
To strengthen canola exports, Richardson has tapped into countries that are consistent consumers of canola and rapeseed products but had, in recent years, experienced production declines. This shift allowed Richardson to approach their markets in new and strategic ways.
This past fall, Richardson became certified under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) Scheme. With ISCC certification, Richardson’s oilseed business is now able to meet biodiesel demand generated by European industry sectors.
“Over three months, an impressive number of growers signed the ISCC declaration form to declare their production sustainable. Obtaining this certification was a multi-stakeholder process, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our Richardson producer network,” says Anderson.
Based on the Canadian Grain Commission’s 2019-20 export statistics, recent overall demand shifts in non-traditional markets are both significant and promising. This change is due in part to the substantial decline in canola exports to China and the industry’s subsequent response of increased exports to Mexico, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and the EU.
“We look forward to continue working with our customers to find innovative and strategic markets for canola and rapeseed products. As these numbers continue to increase, we anticipate driving Western Canadian canola exports back to 2017-18 volumes,” adds Anderson.