Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 19, 2007 17:12 ET

AAFC: Investments by Canada's New Government to Help Canola Products Yield Greater International Profits

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Sept. 19, 2007) - The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced $1.47 million to the Canola Council of Canada in support of creating new global marketing opportunities for Canada's canola exporters.

"Canola is Canada's second most valuable crop, after wheat, and looking ahead it will become an even more vital product for our producers and for our economy," said Minister Ritz. "For these reasons, Canada's New Government is proud to make this investment and help our Canadian canola producers yield greater profits by tapping into international opportunities.

This funding, under the Canadian Agriculture and Food International (CAFI) program, supports the long-term international strategy of the Canola Council to enhance the use and value of canola, canola oil and canola meal in priority markets around the globe.

"The Canadian canola industry is aiming for 15 million tonnes of production by 2015 and we know that there will be international demand for that canola," said Dave Hickling, Canola Council of Canada Vice-President. "CAFI funding will continue to be critically important for the market development efforts required to meet our objectives of increased volume and value."

The Canola Council is also working to raise the profile of canola oil as premium oil in several current and developing markets such as the U.S., Mexico and certain Asian markets.

BACKGROUNDER

Canola is a made-in-Canada success story.

Canada's most valuable oilseed crop and second most valuable crop overall, canola provides direct revenue of about $3 billion annually to Canadian producers. When value-added products and activities such as crushing canola seed and further refining, handling and marketing the vegetable oil and canola meal are factored in, that total reaches almost $11 billion a year.

Not only is canola an increasingly popular crop for its oil and meal used for human consumption, but it also has an edge for use in biofuels and other products. As a major contributor to Canada's agri-food industry, canola, an oilseed Brassica, has far-reaching benefits; not only does it currently supply a high quality and healthy vegetable oil used for cooking, salad dressing and margarine, but it has also gained prominence as a source for manufacturing a variety of environmentally friendly products like biodiesel.

In a world concerned about renewable fuels, canola and its derivatives present interesting opportunities to address the issue of climate change. This crop is also particularly well-positioned to serve as a feedstock to fulfill targets under Canada's Clean Air Act which will require two per cent biodiesel blends in diesel and heating oil by 2012.

Dubbed "Canada's plant," canola was developed in the early 1970s by Canadian scientists Dr. Keith Downey of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Saskatoon Research Centre and Dr. Baldur Stefansson, a plant breeder at the University of Manitoba. The two researchers modified rapeseed to produce a highly nutritious, edible oil named canola (for Canada Oil Low Acid).

Canola is described as a "healthy" oil and its use is rising steadily both as a cooking oil and in processed foods. It is low in saturates, high in monounsaturates, and contains a high level of oleic acid, which can reduce low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels. Many people prefer the light color and mild taste of canola oil over olive oil, the other readily available oil that is high in monounsaturates.

More recently, the Canadian canola industry responded to health and consumer concerns about trans-fats by developing new specialty varieties of canola. These newly developed specialty canola varieties are often grown by farmers under production contracts with crushing companies. The crushing companies then market the specialty oil to the food industry for other applications.

Canola has become a household name in Canada and in markets around the globe and is now a significant contributor to the prosperity of Canada's farm families.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    Canola Council of Canada
    Dave Hickling
    Vice President, Canola Utilization
    204-982-2127
    or
    Minister Ritz's Office
    Todd MacKay
    613-759-1059