food | A group of co-ops shakes up the grain market in Quebec


The largest agro-food cooperative in Quebec, Sollio, has joined forces with ten regional colleagues to group their activities in the field of large-scale grain and cereal crops in Quebec.

Martin Vallieres
Martin Vallieres

Called Sollio & Grains Québec, this new inter-cooperative partnership is set to become, according to its leaders, “the most important buyer of grain” from grain producers in Quebec. They anticipate a marketed grain volume of “over two million tonnes” per year, with aggregate sales of around $ 700 million per year.

Also, this new inter-cooperative partnership will work in close collaboration with the cereal division of Sollio (previously Coop fédérée). Sollio alone trades approximately 4.2 million tonnes of grain per year between eastern Ontario, Quebec and overseas markets through its network of facilities along the St-Laurent.

In the opinion of the general manager of Sollio & Grains Québec, Richard Villeneuve, this cereal grouping between Sollio and the 10 main regional agricultural cooperatives “will allow the development of new markets” and “better position on the food market while obtaining major operational and financial gains. ”

But on the side of the grouping of Producers of grains of Quebec (NOTE PUPITRE: spelled well with a capital P), which is associated with the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), we are expressing “some concerns” of producers about the impact of such a grouping of grain buyers in Quebec on the evolution of their bargaining power when selling their grain harvest.

“In reaction to this alliance of Sollio and ten regional cooperatives, I cannot hide from you that the producers who are harvesting these weeks could be worried about this concentration of buyers at their first level in the grain market”, commented Benoit Legault, General Manager of Producteurs de grains du Québec.

“Producers could see this as an unfavorable change in their bargaining power, with a few less buyers now consolidated into a single large entity. Moreover, producers will have to wait a certain time – a few years perhaps – before knowing whether the gains in market access promoted by the managers of Sollio & Grains Québec will really materialize to their advantage. ”

According to Benoit Legault, grain producers in Quebec and other farmers have already suffered over the years the impact of the groups of regional agricultural cooperatives on their agricultural and commercial activities.

And in the grain market in particular, among a pool of about “200 buyers’ permits” from producers, “the five or six largest monopolizes nearly three quarters of the purchasing power in the main grain crops in Quebec. .

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