New strategies for promoting Canadian soybeans

RECENT CHANGES ALLOW FOR A STRONGER FOCUS ON PROMOTION

the agricultural industry is in constant flux as markets change, opportunities arise and technology advances. It’s within this flux that agricultural organizations must operate and find a way to balance consistent and reliable strategies with appropriate flexibility and adaptation.

With industry changes in mind, member organizations of the Canadian Soybean Council (CSC) have made the decision to cease activities as an organization and function as a committee solely focused on promotion. Members of CSC?are the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association (MPGA), La Fédération des producteurs cultures commerciales du Québec (FPCCQ) and Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO).

“The three organizations are committed to working together to promote high quality Canadian soybeans through a combined marketing effort in both export and domestic markets,” says Crosby Devitt, manager of research and market development at GFO. “We have decided to focus CSC’s activities solely on promotion of Canadian soybeans and as such, CSC has wound  down its formal structure,” he continues.

The board of directors of CSC has been replaced with a working group of members from the three provincial commodity organizations. The registered trademark name and logo of CSC will be maintained as it is easily recognized in international and domestic markets.

continued promotion
A promotional activity that recently occurred under the CSC banner was an incoming mission of important soybean buyers from Asia. “In September, CSC hosted soybean users from Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand in Canada and showcased Canadian soybeans,” says Devitt.

The 14 delegates toured through soybean facilities in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec during the key harvest period and were able to see the quality and value of Canadian soybeans first-hand. The group toured a soybean farm and met with farmers in all three provinces. Soybean breeding and research were also highlighted along the tour as the delegates did a field plot tour in Manitoba and visited the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research station in Harrow, Ontario. Delegates also learned about what happens to soybeans once they leave the farm during their tour of London Agricultural Commodities in Thamesville, Ontario, a processing facility in Quebec and through a tour of the Port of Montreal. The quality of Canadian soybeans was also highlighted during a tour of the Canadian International Grains Institute research facilities in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Asian delegates are representatives from companies that purchase Canadian soybeans including soy beverage manufacturers, tofu producers and other soy food product companies.

“It’s these types of activities that CSC, under the new working group, will focus on,” says Devitt. “We will leave the lobbying and government relations work to our supporting commodity organizations and focus entirely on promoting Canadian soybeans,” he continues.

In addition to their latest incoming mission, CSC also has plans to attend the Soy and Grain Trade Summit in St. Louis in November. At this event, they will be promoting high quality Canadian soybeans to many buyers from around the world. A trade mission to Japan and southeast Asia is planned for early 2012. •