Australian canola farmers who have finished their 2017 harvest have reason to celebrate, with news their crop will be eligible to enter the valuable European Union market as an environmentally-friendly biodiesel feedstock.
Following the submission of a CSIRO report funded by the Australian Oilseed Federation and the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, the European Commission has confirmed Australian canola meets strict new feedstock requirements for EU biodiesel.
To meet its own greenhouse gas reduction targets, Europe would have shut its doors to Australian canola from January 1 unless Australian farmers could demonstrate they grow low-emission canola.
AOF executive director Nick Goddard said growers would be relieved by the decision, as the EU was Australian canola’s largest export market, with the majority of it going to biodiesel production.
‘‘The EU market is too valuable to lose for Australian canola growers. In 2016-17, Australian canola exports to the EU were typically worth over $1billion, with nearly all those exports being used for biodiesel production,’’ Mr Goddard said.
AEGIC chief economist Ross Kingwell said the decision would have positive impacts for Australia’s canola industry.
‘‘Many Australian farmers rely on canola production, and securing access to lucrative markets like the EU is crucial to underpin the security and general profitability of cropping in many farm regions across Australia,’’ Professor Kingwell said.
The vast majority of Australian canola is non-GM, which attracts a price premium of $20 to $40/tonne in the EU. This earned the Australian industry an additional $100million in 2016-17.