Cigi program with Chinese buyers and processors helps build knowledge of Canadian wheat quality

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The participants take a close look at noodle processing in Cigi’s pilot noodle plant.

WINNIPEG – A week-long Cigi (Canadian International Grains Institute) program for 12 senior representatives from China’s grain and milling industry has been successful in responding to questions about the functional qualities of different Canadian wheat classes and providing insight into Canada’s quality assurance system, says Cigi’s CEO Earl Geddes.

The COFCO – China Technical Exchange Program began in Winnipeg on Monday, August 12 and concludes in Vancouver on Friday, August 16.  Participants include both COFCO officials and individuals from different Chinese grain companies.  COFCO is China’s largest oils, cereals and foodstuffs import and export corporation.

Group members spent the first four days in technical sessions in Cigi’s facilities learning about the quality of Canadian wheat classes and their application in end-products such as noodles, steamed bread and baked goods.  Representatives from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Grain Commission also provided presentations on wheat breeding, grain inspection and grading, and a tour of the CGC’s Grain Research Lab. 

On Wednesday afternoon participants spent time at Kelburn Farm, one of several test plot sites in Western Canada where Cigi is investigating factors affecting gluten strength in CWRS as part of an industry-driven research initiative.  During a Cigi mission to China in March, COFCO officials had raised concerns about changes they were seeing in CWRS quality.

“This program is an important opportunity to demonstrate to the Chinese industry that Canada is committed to continuing to provide high-quality wheat to meet their requirements,” says Geddes. “They have been very engaged during all of the sessions, asking a lot of questions and getting the information they need from the Canadian industry so that they have full confidence in Canadian wheat.”

These efforts will go a long way to building on the long-term relationship Canada has with the Chinese milling industry, he says.  “There was great interest amongst the COFCO group to come to Canada and participate in this Cigi program. I think that is indicative of the value they place on their ongoing relationship with Canadian farmers, exporters and Cigi.”

The program is particularly timely with China looking to import more wheat this year to supplement its weather-damaged crop. As of June, China had imported over 715,000 tonnes of Canadian wheat during the 2012-13 crop year.

On Friday, the program concludes in Vancouver with a visit to a terminal elevator and discussions with representatives from the CGC office.

Cigi is an independent market development institute created in 1972. More than 37,000 people representing grain, oilseed, pulse and special crops industries from 115 countries have participated in Cigi programs and seminars. Cigi’s mission is to create profitable opportunities for Canadian field crops through the delivery of technical expertise, support and customized training to the domestic industry and customers around the world. Cigi is funded by farmers, the Government of Canada (AAFC) and industry partners.

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 For more information contact:

 Earl Geddes
Chief Executive Officer
Cigi (Canadian International Grains Institute)
Ph: (204) 983-4980
Cell: (204) 955-1191
Email: egeddes@cigi.ca

Ellen Goodman
Communications Specialist
Cigi (Canadian International Grains Institute)
Ph: (204) 983-1145
Email: egoodman@cigi.ca