Indeed, estimates suggest the lifting of the three-and-a-half-year import ban could now boost the pockets of Aussie farmers by up to A$825m a year, working on a canola price of $550 a tonne.
Chinese officials implemented the ban in 2009 on the back of concerns surrounding the root-borne disease blackleg. While the prohibition has now been mostly lifted, the Australian port zones of Wallaroo and Port Adelaide in South Australia and Albany in WA are still blacklisted because of high instances of the disease in seed samples.
Rona Mellor, the deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), said the first shipments had landed in China as part of a new joint research agreement between the two countries.
“The new agreement ensures we recommence the trade in a way that prevents the entry of blackleg fungus into China,” Mellor said.
“Since reaching the agreement, Australia has already shipped A$80m worth of canola destined for the Chinese market and is looking forward to more high quality Australian product following in the coming weeks and months.
“Further sales are underway, which is excellent news for Australian growers and Chinese processors.
“DAFF and China’s biosecurity agency [AQSIQ] have been working on the resumption of this trade since 2011. The Australian oilseed industry, along with key exporters in Australia and importers in China, asked DAFF to seek renewed access to the Chinese market on their behalf.”
The market access conditions require that canola be sourced from areas in Australia of low pest prevalence for blackleg and be processed in specific areas of China.
AQSIQ has approved eight ports located in non-canola producing provinces in China to receive the shipments.
The trade will be supported by a joint Australia–China research program into managing blackleg fungus.
"China presents tremendous opportunity for Australian canola and I am confident China will rapidly become one of our primary export markets," said Nick Goddard, executive director of the Australian Oilseeds Federation.
"The benefit for China of course is that it will now have an additional source of imported canola and can source depending on best value delivered to various ports. It’s a win-win for both countries.”