Mexico wants Canadian oats

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MarketsFarm — Mexico’s largest oat manufacturer is calling for Canadian oat producers to explore new varieties and increase acreage in order to keep up with global demand.

Jorge Sanchez, chief financial officer of Mexico’s Corporativo Grupo Vida Internacional, said Canada’s oat crops need to “adapt to changing growing conditions” in order to meet world demand, which grows by about 4.4 per cent each year worldwide.

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“These seeds must be adaptable to global weather trends,” he said.

Canadian producers must prioritize growing oats organically, he added, without the use of glyphosates and other pesticides, in order to stay abreast of consumer trends.

“Consumers are willing to pay more,” he said Wednesday at the CropConnect conference in Winnipeg.

“As an industry, we need to meet the need of this increased demand.”

According to a report in January from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, oat acreage in 2020 is expected to total 3.93 million acres, up nine per cent from 2019.

Grupo Vida buys Canadian oats due to their high quality, which are optimal for processing for human consumption, Sanchez said.

During the 2018-19 marketing year, Mexico bought almost 180,000 tonnes of Canadian oats — a significant increase from the five-year average of 42,000 tonnes.

Grupo Vida owns an oat-milling plant in Edmonton, as well as a facility at Altona, Man. The company contracts to oat growers, along with purchasing from trading companies.

— Marlo Glass reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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