By: Brenna Mahoney, Cereals Canada
Cereals Canada is a national organization that represents the cereals value chain. We have three membership pillars: (a) producers, (b) exporters and processors and (c) developer and seed companies.
Producers play a critical role at Cereals Canada, both around our Board table as well as in our technical working groups and standing committees. Our producer membership includes:
- Atlantic Grains Council
- Les Producteurs de grains du Québec
- Grain Farmers of Ontario
- Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association
- Alberta Wheat Commission
- BC Grain Producers Association
Producers make up 39 per cent of the Board of Directors of Cereals Canada. The grain handling, export and processing firms also have 39 per cent of the Board while the crop development and seed companies comprise 22 per cent.
Representation from all our member groups is both deliberate and important. All stakeholders involved in growing, marketing or processing cereal grains are better off when the industry works together toward common goals. This is best accomplished if all links in the value chain have the opportunity for input.
Although the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission has not accepted the invitation to join Cereals Canada, Saskatchewan producers are represented with two seats on the Board, as well as in our working groups through the support of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. This is not a long-term solution, but the positive two-way relationship with Saskatchewan Agriculture means that the voice of Saskatchewan producers is heard.
Our cereals sector business environment in Canada is complex, made up of thousands of growers across the country facing many similar production challenges. Cereal grain production will be more profitable for farmers if every link in the value chain is healthy. Profitability will mean greater investment in research and development. Profitability will result in new infrastructure to process and handle our crops.
Cereals Canada provides a forum for conflict resolution to allow the industry to work out any differences, and gives the industry the ability to speak to governments and customers with a common voice. We are a stronger industry when the pillars work together.
Cereals Canada, along with the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) and the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC), is united in reaching out to international customers. The Canadian Wheat New Crop Missions run for seven weeks from the beginning of November to mid-December and take place in 17 countries in: Asia, Latin America, Europe, North Africa and West Africa. The Canadian team includes the entire value chain to help ensure customers can access the Canadian quality they have come to expect, while meeting their country’s grain safety regulations. The missions also allow Canadian farmers to highlight the strong management practices that allow them to consistently deliver high-quality grain that is sustainability produced. Telling the Canadian agricultural story gives context to our customers about who we are and demonstrates our collective commitment to upholding Canada’s reputation in the global market.
Another example of Cereals Canada’s work is the collaboration on Italy’s potential Country Of Origin Labelling (COOL). This is being facilitated by Cereals Canada, with the Government of Canada through the Market Access Secretariat, as well as the Embassies in Rome and Brussels. COOL is problematic, especially since Saskatchewan produced 80 per cent of the durum in Canada in 2016. Saskatchewan is Italy’s top durum supplier, providing Italy with more than one third of their durum imports.
Our overarching goal is to ensure that all links in the Canadian cereals value chain are profitable because our industry is meeting the demands of our customers for consistent, high-quality and end use functionality characteristics.