Canola risks exceeding food vs. fuel target

Mar 29, 2023

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The food vs. fuel debate is resurfacing as North America’s oilseed sector braces for surging demand from the burgeoning renewable diesel industry.

The issue was raised during a question-and-answer session at a recent biofuels presentation hosted by the Canadian Canola Growers Association.

“In light of the present crisis in the world food stocks, how can we continue to use edible food products as a feedstock?” asked one online participant.

Steve Pratte, senior manager of transportation and biofuel policy with the CCGA, said the organization has a longstanding policy of pushing for single-digit percentage use of canola by industrial users, so less than 10 percent.

“We’ve always promoted modest industrial use as a policy,” he said.

Current annual canola demand from the biofuel industry in Canada and the United States amounts to 1.8 million tonnes.

Canada produced about 18.17 million tonnes of the crop in 2022-23. The U.S. chipped in another 1.74 million tonnes for a total of 19.91 million tonnes.

That means the biofuel sector currently accounts for nine percent of total North American production, which is under that 10 percent threshold.

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