Canada is the world's leading exporter of durum wheat, a crop grown in southwest Saskatchewan, and southeast Alberta.
Over the last five years over 23 million tonnes of Canadian durum have been exported to 49 countries including the U-S.
The major durum-consuming markets for Canadian durum are countries like Italy, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Durum is traditionally used in the production of pasta and couscous.
Leif Carlson, the Director of Market Intelligence and Trade Policy for Cereals Canada says customers may value different aspects of Canadian durum depending on the market.
"In general, our customers really value the cleanliness of Canadian grain. Our durum in particular, has a number of really great attributes. One of them is that our production is high quality, with high vitreous kernels. What that allows millers to do is create excellent semolina, that course durum flour that can be used to make pasta. Beyond that our durum has excellent colour, that bright yellow colour is really important for some of our markets, particularly in North Africa. And lastly, the quality of the gluten, the protein ingredient that makes pasta has a good bite and allows us to boil it and still have that excellent texture. Canadian durum is great in all those aspects."
Carlson says focusing on the 2022 crop he's pleased with what he's hearing.
"Coming out of the drought in 2021 when Canada didn't produce as much durum wheat as normal. I think everyone in the value chain from farmers to customers are really excited about the potential for better production in 2022. It looks like that's happened, where Canadian durum production has increased significantly from last year. That's going to allow us to export more durum and bring Canada back into the export market in a larger way. As well, the early indications from the harvest are that it could be a high-quality crop with a lot of high-grade durum with good protein."
Statistics Canada and Agriculture Canada's current estimates show that Canadian durum is expected to double in 2022, with an estimated production of 6.1 million metric tonnes.
He notes higher production will support higher exports, with Canadian durum exports looking to reach 5 million metric tonnes for the 2022-23 crop year.
Canadian durum is also used to produce the pasta that we eat in Canada.
Today - October 25th - is World Pasta Day!