Health benefits keep canola growth humming


Stunning growth in canola production and processing isn’t making the industry anxious.


“As long as the weather holds up, absolutely (we can produce enough canola to keep the crushers going),” said Sean McPhee, president of Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada.


Canadian canola and soybean oil production has more than doubled since 2005, and a new Cargill crushing plant near Camrose and the expansion of the Bunge plants at Altona, Man., and Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., will further increase capacity and demand.


McPhee said the significant growth in production is driven by increasing demand from consumers for healthy oil, which he said includes canola and soybean oil.


“A big part of it is the health profile,” said McPhee.


American imports of Canadian vegetable oil have doubled since 2007 and Chinese purchases have tripled. 


Canola production has increased significantly in the past decade, rising from less than six million tonnes of seed per year to 15 million. 


The increase is due to high-yielding hybrids, extra acreage and good crop management, analysts say.


The increase in vegetable oil production is the result of processors running at full capacity, something that was not always the case in the early-mid 2000s, and a huge increase in crushing capacity.


McPhee said crushing companies are expected to have invested $1 billion in new capacity between 2007 and 2015.

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