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Topic – Canola

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In summer, canola crops blanket the landscape with fields of bright-yellow flowers. Canola is an all-Canadian crop that has many uses, including fuel, meal or livestock feed, and cooking oil.

Made in Canada

The word canola is a combination of “Canadian,” and the word “ola” which means oil. The canola plant was developed by a group of Canadian plant breeders in the 1970s. They were looking for a plant that would thrive on the prairies and produce high-quality edible oil. They found a plant that produced a lot of oil, but it was non-edible. The plant breeders changed the plant to make it edible and, in 1974, the first canola plant was released.

Big Business

Canola production increases across Canada every year. The canola industry provides jobs for nearly 250 000 people and brings in more than $19.3 billion each year. Canola is Canada’s most valuable farm crop. More than 43 000 farms across Canada grow canola, mostly in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Canola is also grown in Ontario, British Columbia, and Québec. New varieties are increasing the crop yield and the range where the crop can be grown.

New Products

Canola is a very versatile product, which means it has many uses. New products made with canola include plastics, proteins for energy drinks and bars, glues, sealers, and biodiesel (fuel). Biodiesel imported from the United States is used by many Canadians in place of gasoline to run their vehicles. Biodiesel is a renewable resource, which means it is constantly being produced. Natural resources such as oil and gas are non-renewable, which means there is only a limited supply which is being used up. Researchers want to produce biodiesel from canola in Canada instead of buying it from the United States.

Sold Around the World

Most of the canola grown in Canada is sold to markets around the world. The United States is Canada’s biggest customer for canola oil and meal. Canola seeds are sold to Japan and Mexico. China also buys canola oil and seeds from Canada, and India buys canola oil.

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