Sometimes working with other oilseed-producing and -exporting nations is necessary to solve bigger industry issues. CCGA is involved in two international organizations to benefit Canadian canola farmers.

Catherine Scovil (front row, second from the left) and Jack Froese (fifth from the right) represented CCGA at IOPD in Australia. The other people are from oilseed producer associations from around the world.

Co-operation with competitors

Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) participates in two international organizations to share ideas and work together on common interests. They are the International Oilseed Producers Dialogue (IOPD) and International Agri-Food Network (IAFN).

International Oilseed Producers Dialogue

IOPD is a loosely knit group of national oilseed farmer associations who meet annually, working together to discuss common issues and develop strategies that will allow oilseed farming to remain sustainable. The group includes organizations from many of the largest oilseed-producing countries, representing commodities such as canola, canola-quality rapeseed and soybean. Recent hosts of the Dialogue include Australia, United States, Paraguay, Canada and England.

“While we are competitors, we have learned that by understanding our shared challenges and issues, we can develop common strategies that we can each use in our own countries and in any international work that we do to ensure our future is as bright as possible,” explains CCGA president and canola farmer Jack Froese. “It’s critically important that we continually communicate with each other about what we are doing right, how we can improve, and what we’re up against in terms of public trust issues, transportation costs and so much more.”

This “so much more” includes how to best to ensure access for farmers to new innovations and technologies, says CCGA CEO Rick White, and how to promote regulatory systems that are science-based and do not impede trade. Globally harmonized maximum residue limits (MRLs) is one goal.

“The Dialogue gives CCGA the chance to make sure Canadian canola growers are updated about common global concerns and opportunities,” Froese says. “We have to be aware of everything that’s happening. Some of the current opportunities discussed are new seed technologies and niche markets. Challenges include food security and how so many aspects of production relate to sustainability. Another example of a challenge is the extreme views that our European counterparts face related to the use of advanced plant breeding techniques and many crop protection products as well. What happens in Europe sends ripples throughout the world and we must stay informed.”

For more, go to ccga.ca and search “IOPD” to find resolutions from the latest meeting in Sydney, Australia.

International Agri-Food Network

The IAFN works to ensure that the agri-food sector, including farmers, is engaged in global discussions addressing global

poverty and food security. Agriculture is instrumental to development, and modern technology is an integral part of the solution to poverty and food security in developing countries, notes Janelle Whitley, CCGA policy development manager.

The Network consists of 14 international associations, representing international companies, national groups, co-operatives and millions of farmers. It meets once a year for an annual meeting and the yearly gathering of the UN Committee on World Food Security. It also holds other smaller meetings.

“Many views exist on how agriculture should evolve and what form of agriculture best meets global challenges to food security and of climate change,” says Whitley. “How programs and policies are developed internationally can impact global trade and farmer access to new technologies, such as biotech seed varieties and crop inputs. It’s critical that modern agriculture be recognized as an integral pillar of food security, and the goal of CCGA’s IAFN involvement is to ensure individuals who influence global multi-lateral policies – such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Codex reforms – fully understand the benefits provided by modern farming technologies.”

Whitley explains that these benefits aren’t always understood or recognized by decision makers. “Through IAFN, CCGA works to demonstrate the importance of innovation to canola and agriculture, more generally,” she says. “It has allowed Canadian canola farmers to increase yields in a social, financial and environmentally sustainable way. Globally, a conducive operating environment is critical for farmers here and around the world to ensure they can grow crops using a full suite of tools – and have confidence their crops will be welcome in international markets.”

For more, go to agrifood.net.