WINNIPEG — The Canadian Wheat Board has signed a deal that will see Prairie farmers export 500,000 tonnes of wheat to China — double what recent sales have been.
John Lyons with the wheat board says the agreement with COFCO, China’s largest government food processor, is worth $130 million. “That’s great news for farmers,” Lyons said. “With wheat, Chinese sales can vary quite a bit year-by-year. This is also significant because it’s the largest such deal that we’ve had with China in five years.” China, with a growing population of 1.3 billion people, is the world’s number one producer and consumer of agriculture products. It’s Canada’s third-largest trading partner after the United States and European Union, with two-way trade of over $50 billion, including $3.1 billion in agriculture and food. Lyons says it’s important for Prairie farmers to guarantee sales to the Chinese market. “There is a lot of wheat in the world and that’s created a very competitive market among exporters. So to be able to have this agreement where China is going to buy 500,000 tonnes of Canada western red spring wheat from Prairie farmers up to the end of 2011 is extremely significant,” said Lyons.