Though European Union acceptance of a herbicide-tolerant biotech canola has removed a major roadblock for Canadian canola exporters, don’t expect a run on canola anytime soon.
The EU executive, the European Commission, said last week it will allow imports of T45, a genetically modified (GM) canola developed by Bayer CropScience, for use in the food and feed market, although not for production in EU farmers’ fields.
T45 — a GM variety developed for tolerance to glufosinate ammonium, the active ingredient in Liberty herbicide — is long since obsolete, having been discontinued by Bayer in 2005.
But it also marks the last of six genetic modifications (“events”) in Canada’s canola supply to get EU approval, thus theoretically clearing the way for EU imports from Canada this summer.
The EU had previously blocked all Canadian canola since 1995, because Canada doesn’t segregate its GM and conventional varieties.
All that said, the influential German oilseed market analysis firm Oil World predicts that when it comes to Canadian canola exports to Europe, “large purchases are unlikely in the near-term.”
Canola/rapeseed supplies in the EU “are still ample to burdensome owing to the current ongoing large imports from Ukraine and Australia,” Oil World said in a report quoted Tuesday by the Reuters news service.
“The price discount of Canadian canola vis-a-vis European rapeseed is currently too small to make imports viable but price changes need to be watched and could quickly establish the conditions for the first European canola imports from Canada in many years.”
Oil World said the EC’s decision does give EU oilseed processors “an additional option” in the future, particularly if prices for Canadian canola were to drop.