Carman, MB (July 6, 2015) – Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG) Chair, Kyle Friesen, recently returned from participating in the AAFC Ministerial Mission to China which took place from June 9-18, 2015. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Gerry Ritz was unable to attend on short notice, but Deputy Minister Andrea Lyon took his place. 60 other industry representatives from across Canada also participated. Friesen attended the Mission as a means to support MPSG’s market development strategy, to promote Manitoba soybeans and pulse crops, and to represent Soy Canada, and he found it educating and rewarding.
“Canada should be importing Chinese soybean varieties for adaptation and production here. They have specific varieties used for specific end purposes and we should try to better accommodate that,” says Friesen. “There is also opportunity to develop more value-added processing here in Canada. Freight is often less for finished product compared to raw product due to reduced weight, and Chinese import regulations vary between food products and raw commodities.”
Friesen participated in several organized seminars, events, and meetings there were scheduled in Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing during the Mission. Of particular interest to him were the Soybean Roundtable Event in Shanghai and the Soy Canada Roundtable Meeting in Beijing. Both of these events raised the profile and promoted the sales of Canadian soybeans, both GM and non-GM.
“Canadian products branded with the maple leaf are really perceived to be a high end premium product in China,” emphasizes Friesen. “Canadian agriculture is seen as clean, natural, environmentally friendly, and sustainable, and this is a huge opportunity for us.” Friesen also noted that China’s population is beginning to demand more protein, including plant-based protein – an opportunity for soybeans.
This initiative received funding from Growing Forward 2, a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.
MPSG was founded in 1984 and represents over 3,500 producers in Manitoba who grow soybeans, edible beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and faba beans. MPGA’s mission is to provide pulse grower members with production knowledge and market development support, through focused research, advocacy and collaboration with industry partners.
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director, MPSG