Elements of Food-Grade Soybean Design, Research Innovation

Soybeans are the number one crop in Southern Ontario in both acres and overall gross revenue. 

Soybeans are the number one source of protein and edible oil in the world. There are millions of acres of soybeans grown, and millions of metric tonnes consumed all over the world.

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Test plot soybeans Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research and Development Centre located in Harrow

 

That makes soybeans an easy and liquid crop to market. But because it is a commodity just like oil or coffee, it is traded very tightly linked to cost of production, and those farmers who can produce more volume, at higher prices, using least possible resources thrive, while those with the lower profitability growers fail.

In Ontario we are able to grow a special variety of soybean that is high in protein, and low in taste that makes the finest soymilk.

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Tofu in the laboratory of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research and Development Centre, Harrow

For climatic and soil type reasons, the variety displays these characteristics best if grown in southwestern Ontario, much like a Bordeaux can only truly be made from the grapes grown near Bordeaux France.

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This innovation of closed loop “farm to fork” type of relationships are rare in the world of bulk commodities, and provides a very attractive larger piece of the pie for its members, leaving out the middle man and leaving more profit and control with the participants.

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Not the “CME Soybeans”:

There is about 50 tests they conduct on food-grade soybeans. Each country buyers has different requirements for different tastes and each variety is developed and grown for a specific country e.g South-Korea, Taiwan. She also alluded to a curious water-protein arbitrage 😉

 

Similar to soybeans, the local greenhouse industry displays an unconventional success (that some say) couldn’t be replicated easily elsewhere in Canada or in the United States.

Essex County generates over C$ 579M in Fruit and Vegetables receipts each year and the epicenter of the greenhouse trade in North-America can be located in Leamington. 

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These tangles of metal pipes and structures reminds me, the U.S Gulf Coast in the refining activity which has this enormous concentration of expertise, streams, companies together in one place… 

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The station in Harrow is the largest greenhouse specialized research facility in North America, again in a successful partnership with the local entrepreneurs. Canada remains a net importer of fruits and vegetables. Dr. Xiuming Hao is working on strategies that could displace a market $3.5B of imports per year.

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How Trade and Technology Will Help Feed Tomorrow’s Cities ?

Soy-Tofu and the Greenhouses both underpins the importance of specialization in Agri-systems within long lasting commercial partnerships carved into the bio and the local domains. 

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© 2016 Navigating the commodity markets with Freight and Spreads

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