Canola shipments reach China as ban lifted

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The first bulk shipments of Australian canola since 2009 land in China as part of a new research agreement

Canola shipments reach China as ban lifted
Canola shipments reach China as ban lifted

June 7,

The first bulk shipments of Australian canola for three and a half years have landed in China as part of a new joint research agreement between the two countries.

Chinese officials implemented an import
ban on the oilseed from both Australia and Canada in 2009 alleging it was contaminated with a fungal disease known as blackleg, which infects the stem of the plant, impeding its growth and vigour.

Deputy Secretary for the Department of Agriculture (DAFF) Rona Mellor says the new agreement ensures Australia recommences the trade in a way that prevents the entry of blackleg fungus into China.

"Since reaching agreement, Australia has already shipped $80 million worth of canola destined for the Chinese market and is looking forward to more high quality Australian product following in the coming weeks and months," Mellor says.

"Further sales are underway, which is excellent news for Australian growers and Chinese processors."

The Australian oilseed industry, along with key exporters in Australia and importers in China, asked DAFF to seek renewed access to the Chinese market on their behalf.

DAFF and China’s biosecurity agency (AQSIQ) have been working on the resumption of the Canola trade since 2011.

"The market access conditions require that canola be sourced from areas in Australia of low pest prevalence for blackleg and be processed in specific areas of China," Mellor says.

AQSIQ has approved eight ports located in non-canola producing provinces in China to receive the shipments.

In early May, $60 million worth of canola was
exported out of Geelong paving the way for a further $20 million shipped by CBH in Esperance.

The ports of Wallaroo and Port Adelaide in South Australia and Albany in Western Australia will still be prohibited from shipping canola due to the prevalence of the disease found in samples in these regions.

The trade will be supported by a joint Australia–China research program into managing blackleg fungus.

"Government and the grains industry worked closely on technical aspects of the market access submission," Mellor says.

"I commend the Australian Oilseeds Federation and the Grains Industry Market Access Forum for their ongoing support and collaboration with DAFF to resume this important trade."

Estimates suggest the lifting of the import ban in China could mean a further $825 million revenue per annum for the industry based on the current canola price of $550 a tonne.

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