More than 90 per cent of the soy grown in Canada is now produced in China, according to a study by a Canadian-Chinese company.
The study, conducted by the China Food & Drug Administration (CFDA), shows that about two-thirds of the country’s soybeans are produced in the Chinese province of Henan.
More than 40 per cent is exported to China.
“There’s a huge gap between what Canada produces and what China can produce,” said CFDA President and CEO Bruce Aitken.
“So that’s what we’re trying to fill.”
In its latest report on the global soybean sector, the CFDA said Canada has about 4,600 hectares of soybeans in production and exports about 10 million tonnes of soy annually.
The study found that the country produces about 60 per cent more soybeans than China and about 35 per cent less than Japan.
About half of that difference is from the use of imported varieties.
Canada’s soybean farmers are mostly concentrated in the province of Quebec and the western province of Ontario.
That means they produce more soy than most of the people in the country.
A recent poll showed that most Quebecers said they don’t think their province is producing enough soy.
Some people in Quebec are concerned about the impact of climate change on the province’s soy crop, said Quebec Soy Growers Association president Paul Pichot.
“We’ve got about 30 per cent fewer hectares of land than the previous harvest, which means we’ve lost about four hectares of area,” he said.
“That’s the biggest challenge we have right now.
It’s an economic disaster.”
Pichot said farmers are growing soybeans on about 1.5 million hectares of farmland.
He said he’s worried that the soy crop will continue to decline because the weather patterns change and plant diseases increase.
He noted that in Ontario, soybeans were grown for more than two decades, but the current crop isn’t profitable.
“You have a lot of farmers that are starting to feel that they’ve been let down,” he explained.
“The farmers are worried that if they grow less soy, they won’t be able to keep up with the demand for it.
They are worried about the costs and the cost of maintaining the crop.”
The CFDA’s report is part of a growing body of research on soy and global food security.
Last year, the U.S. government’s Department of Agriculture announced that it would phase out soy production by 2022.
That’s a change that’s expected to affect tens of millions of people around the world.
The CFMA’s Pichots said he hopes the CFTA’s report helps Canadians understand the potential impact of changing climate and changing crop yields.
“What I would like to see is some clarity on what the impact will be, what the consequences of that will be and what can be done about it,” he added.
“This is a very important issue that’s affecting a lot more than just Canadians, but it’s affecting everybody.”