Exports inconsistent despite demand

Canadian oat exports to Mexico are small and inconsistent.


However, Prairie Oat Growers Association president Art Enns says the human food market has potential for Canadian growers. 


Most oat exports go to the United States, but the 32,000 tonnes that were shipped to Mexico last year was good enough to make it Canada’s second biggest customer.


“We noticed that Mexico’s imports of Canadian oats was erratic,” said Enns. The country would import a regular amount each year, but Canada’s share of the total would vary greatly.


“So we’re trying to bring that level up to be a little bit more consistent.” 


More than 23,000 tonnes were moved at the start of last year with subsequent shipments becoming smaller. Monthly totals for this year peaked at 1,083 tonnes in July and bottomed out at 260 tonnes in August. 


Enns said Canadian exports have represented 25 to 75 percent of Mexico’s needs. 


“We’d certainly like to be in there close to the top, anyways,” said Enns. 


“I’d like to have more than our fair share of the market.”


Enns and other POGA delegates recently returned from a trade mission to Mexico, touring Guadalajara and Mexico City and meeting with processors.


Enns was impressed with the number of oat products on store shelves in Mexico, which has a large population and recently approved a tax on high calorie food. 


He said Australia and Chile are competitors in the market. 


“Chile, for instance, does have oats for export, but it’s very short term,” said Enns. 


“It might be right after the harvest for a couple of months. They export whatever they have extra and that’s it.”


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