* Australia more than doubled wheat export markets
* Ottawa planning to scrap Canadian grain monopoly
By Rod Nickel
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, Sept 9 Canada is wise
to plan the removal of its grain marketing monopoly,
Australia's trade minister said on Friday, noting that opening
the wheat market has boosted his country's trade position.
Australia dismantled its wheat monopoly under the
Australian Wheat Board in 2008, leaving the Canadian Wheat
Board as the world's only major agricultural monopoly.
"It's had a very positive impact," Australian Trade
Minister Craig Emerson said after meetings of the Cairns Group
of agricultural exporters in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Australian wheat now exports to 41 countries with multiple
sellers, compared to 17 under the single-desk AWB, Emerson
"That's a dramatic lift in export performance and
diversification and that's what breaking a monopoly in
marketing is all about."
Canada's Conservative government plans to present
legislation this autumn to do away with the CWB's monopoly over
Western Canada's wheat and barley in August 2012. Holding a
majority of seats in the House of Commons allows Conservatives
to pass legislation without needing support from opposition
Many farmers want to keep the monopoly and think pooling
farmers' grain brings them the highest price. Selling
individually to grain handlers gives those companies the upper
hand on farmers, some say.
But Emerson said a monopoly doesn't necessarily seek to
maximize profits. The arrival of multinational farm companies
like Viterra Inc VT.TO and Agrium Inc (AGU.TO) since the
monopoly breakup has been helpful and given Australian farmers
choice, Emerson said.
"If you enter a race and you're the only entrant, you're
probably not going to run very fast. But if you've got a
red-hot field, it's going to bring out the best in you."
(Editing by David Gregorio)