The PRactice

Canada Looks to Take Bigger “Bite” of Food Trade with India

Press release   •   Dec 01, 2011 17:24 IST

MUMBAI, Dec. 01, 2011—Canada and India have longstanding trade relations in agriculture, but there is significant room for expansion, especially with increasing demand in India for the healthier foods that Canada produces. To further such trade, representatives from the Governments of Canada and Alberta and the Canola Council of Canada are meeting with members of the Indian food sector this week.

“Canada is an important partner for India to ensure food security for its people,” says Sara Wilshaw, minister (commercial), High Commission of Canada, New Delhi. “Canada supplies approximately 34 percent of the lentils, peas and other pulses imported by India. However, other Canadian foods, such as canola oil, have significant potential here due to their health and functional properties.”

India is one of the largest vegetable oil importers in the world. In 2010-11, it imported nearly 8.5 million tonnes of vegetable oil and consumed over 15 million tonnes. Vegetable oil consumption in India is currently increasing by about 400,000 tonnes (3.6 percent) per year. 

Yet, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease, stroke and diseases of the blood vessels, is the leading cause of death in India. This country is also number two globally in diabetes numbers, affecting over 61 million people, who are at greater risk for CVD. Introducing heart-healthy canola oil for cooking may help reduce Indians’ risk of CVD.

Canola oil has the least saturated fat of all cooking oils – about half that of olive and sunflower oils – and is free of trans fat and cholesterol. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim on canola oil’s potential to reduce the risk of heart disease.

When used in place of saturated fat, about 1.5 tablespoons of canola oil for a few rupees a day is enough to help keep the cardiologist away. In addition, canola oil is extremely versatile with a neutral taste, light texture and high heat tolerance.

Canada accounts for the largest supply (exports) of canola in the world. Alberta is one of its top canola-producing provinces. 

“We can strengthen our relationship given India’s ongoing economic growth, export capacity and interest in Canada as a marketplace,” noted Colin Jeffares, assistant deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Government of Alberta. “Our countries have natural synergies in terms of import needs and supply capabilities and our governments are creating a trade and policy environment that is conducive to commerce.”

For Immediate Release

Contacts: Cory McArthur, 1-204-982-2126,

mcarthurc@canolacouncil.org

Annalisa Baer, 1-780-427-4148 

annalisa.baer@gov.ab.ca