Derek Dery

China’s move to stop buying Canadian canola seed has Saskatchewan farmers reconsidering the crop.

Derek Dery, a grower near Saskatoon, said he may shift about 15 per cent of canola acres to another crop. However farmers need reassurance on the canola market quickly, as seeding is expected to come early this year.

“Spring’s here early. We might be seeding in April and so perhaps we might shift those acres sooner than expected,” Dery said.

Canola prices have dipped about 10 per cent in the past month following the trade uncertainty with Canada’s largest canola customer – China.

About two weeks ago, China blocked shipments from grain-processing company, Richardson International.

On Thursday, the Canadian Council of Canada confirmed Chinese importers “are unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed at this time.”

According to Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership, Canada shipped $2.6 billion in canola product to China last year and $1.82 billion came from Saskatchewan.

Dery said he is optimistic the government will find a quick solution to the trade dispute.

“My first reaction is to be emotional and be very concerned, but we just have to take a step back and trust our government.”

In a written statement to CTV News, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called China’s canola halt “concerning” and requested the federal government “elevate its engagement to a diplomatic level to rectify this situation as soon as possible.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Thunder Bay his government is going to “roll up our sleeves and work with the Chinese officials.”

“This is something we take very seriously. It is something we are looking into and we’re working on right now and we will continue to work on, the same way we were able to solve in 2016.”

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