Global Market Trends
The efforts behind our trade-facilitation mission are based on diligent market research. We track trade-volumes and crop-prices but dig much deeper into market-dynamics through the research we conduct into demand-drivers, both consumption and supply-chain trends.
The research themes we focus on, and case-studies we conduct, reflect the export potential we see in identifying specialty-crop varieties our producers should consider growing. What you see here reflects the work we have been doing, but you can shape our future agenda.
As evident throughout this portal, we cast our crop specialization or diversification “net” quite widely -- specialty-grades among our staple-crops, as well as new crop varieties that fetch high-value in global markets.
Much of our export growth has come from canola but discovery of our advantages in growing pulses has also added greatly to export-revenues -- we continue to look into pulse markets for new opportunities, lentils and other.
We also continue to search for a greater variety of crops, in the hope of catching the next diversification wave. We do not shy away from exotic-niches but try to focus on specialty-crop markets with greater depth.
As a major exporter we must understand global production trends, but we do not. China has become our largest export-market but we hardly pay any attention to its agricultural-trade-dynamics, not even its import-needs.
We have a new report coming out, China Factor, which we are going to follow up with another on an emerging source that China is turning to for grain imports, New Grain-Belt that stretches from Caucasia to Central Asia.
Another one of our initiatives is on the EU Grain Economy, a major pillar of global grain markets that now has a fairly balanced trade -- a case-study we can learn a lot from with respect to direct-sales and food-chain-integration.
Naturally, human consumption habits drive crop trends -- directly through food and indirectly through feed (for eggs, milk and meat), which the grain industry does not pay much attention to with its focus on bulk-crop-trades.
This neglect was evident with respect to China as it became our largest export-destination, with 20% market-share of global grain-trades -- huge increases in meat and diary consumption, while diets were shifting from rice to wheat.
We are now paying considerable attention to a world-wide shift to vegetarian or vegan diets. This will create new market opportunities for Prairie producers, not just new crop-varieties but also organic-of-everything.
As important as what people eat is how food is produced, as revealed by processing and industry trends in both food and feed chains -- vital factors in targeting export opportunities but neither producers nor traders pay much attention to.
In one of our supply-chain studies, we focused on flour-milling industry in China which was going through massive consolidation and automation -- why our wheat-exports were dwindling with demand shifting to specialty-grades.
Through another study of China’s feed industry, we discovered huge potential for shipping custom-feed-mixes to feed lots across the country in regular container-loads -- Prairies could grow all the ingredients needed for these custom-mixes.
We need your input
We have a large array of reports and presentations that provide insights into export opportunities, which you will find on display throughout this portal.
Given our background and past studies, you will find a heavy China-orientation in our existing library. These efforts proved quite useful when our efforts were focused on China but they also provide useful templates for our current work focusing on other Asia Pacific markets. We now have 10-15 studies underway that we will be posting in due course.
For our "portal" to become an effective trade-facilitation tool, we have to not only sustain our level of research but greatly expand it. Much of our efforts are devoted to raising research-funds from various government, non-profit and also corporate sources.
We would be grateful for any support or endorsement you can lend to our cause, but even more importantly, we need your suggestions and advice to guide the course of our research-agenda, so that we can align our priorities with those of the producer-community.