Briefing

Despite Italian farmers’ protests, bad weather means pasta makers are still relying on Canadian durum

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EU production of the grain dropped 10 per cent to 7.78 million tons in the growing season beginning in July, due to reduced planting and poor weather. August and September saw Italy import 156,500 tons of the crop from Canada, nearly three times as much as in 2018. U.S. exports also rose. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: Italy has tried to limit durum imports by requiring brands to list the source of their wheat on pasta packets, the country’s agriculture minister saying he was using “labelling as a competitive tool.” That came after Coldiretti, the country’s largest agricultural association, took to the streets over Canadian farmers’ use of herbicides. They may be oversaucing it—Canadian growers say their wheat is safe; the real problem is likely economic.  But the tactic worked. Pasta giant Barilla sliced imports from Canada by 35 per cent in response to consumer concerns. The pasta-labelling requirement has Canadian crop associations pushing Ottawa to take Italy to the World Trade Organization, as it did China over canola.