Canada will once again have preferred status when it comes to wheat exports to Indonesia.

The Canadian and Indonesia governments announced an agreement last week which recognizes Canada's quality-control system, and will exempt Canadian wheat from new phytosanitary testing requirements.

"Last year, the Indonesians brought in new regulations covering the phytosanitary conditions of all agricultural imports," says Darrell Bushuk, senior manager Asia-Pacific for the Canadian Wheat Board. "As part of that regulation, there are some requirements for testing wheat for chemical residues."

Bushuk explains countries had the chance to apply for an exemption. "During the spring time we had a delegation of Indonesian government officials come to Canada and survey our quality control now they have granted this exemption to some aspects of this law."

The agreement will give the CWB unimpeded access to a market that has been worth more than 300 million dollars to prairie wheat farmers in recent years. "It will reduce the risk of our shipments going to Indonesia and our shipments getting quarantined for some reason. It will also reduce the cost because the new law required testing for 28 different chemicals, and so the cost to perform these tests is quite high."

He notes the exemption will not put Canadian wheat ahead of wheat from the U.S. and Australia. "I believe both the Australians and Americans also have this exemption. So it keeps us on an even playing field. It gives us some advantage in that Indonesia has bought some wheat from some Black Sea countries in the last years, and as of right now, they don't have this exemption."

Last crop year the CWB exported around 845 thousand tonnes of wheat to Indonesia, down from 934 thousand tonnes in the previous crop year. Customers in the Asian country use the wheat for breads and noodles.

~ Tuesday, October 19, 2010 ~