Cam Dahl, President of Cereals Canada and Dean Dias, Ceo Of Cigi
The Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) and Cereals Canada are moving forward towards an amalgamated organization. This is a positive development. If one were to start with a blank page, in designing how the cereal grains sector were to be represented, we would not have started with two separate organizations. But that is not how the sector has developed. Moving operations into a single organization, under the direction of a single Board of Directors, is part of the ongoing transformation of the industry. For the last 40 plus years, Cigi has built a reputation, internationally, for technical and functional quality analysis and support. Cigi has effectively helped to develop markets for Canadian wheat, through training and information sessions with customers, held both in Canada and in-market. In addition to these roles, the international brand and relationships that Cigi has established will all continue under the amalgamated organization. Cereals Canada grew out of the change in marketing for Canadian wheat and barley. The organization is designed to be the national umbrella for the cereal grain value chain, addressing policy issues both in Canada and internationally, tackling an increasing number of market access issues and providing a bridge between customers of Canadian cereal grains and Canadian farmers, exporters, and the research community. These functions are complementary to the work Cigi has been carrying out. Collaboration between Cereals Canada and Cigi started long before discussions began on unifying the two organizations. The cohesive Canadian voice provided through the annual New Crop Missions is one example of the benefits of collaboration. Working together has also benefited the industry as a whole, which is one of the key advantages of amalgamation. The coordinated approach to outreach from Canada, resulting from our informal collaboration, will be cemented in place under a single roof. Throughout the discussions on amalgamation, which have taken place over the past three years, the Directors of the two organizations have been guided by a key question “what is in the best interest of the Canadian industry going forward.” This has not been about protecting the turf of either of the two organizations but looking for a renewed governance model that will more efficiently and effectively deliver the services the industry needs, around market development, policy, market access, research and communication. A coordinated value chain approach is becoming more and more important as the world enters into a new age of protectionism and trade barriers. Canadian farmers, exporters and processors also face growing competition from emerging exporters, like the rising competition from Black Sea countries.