June 28, 2016 / 4:42 PM / a year ago

China's COFCO to open Canada grain trading office by autumn

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - China’s COFCO Agri [CNCOF.UL] will open a Canadian crop trading office in Winnipeg by the time farmers harvest their new crops, the state-owned agricultural trader said on Tuesday.

The new office, which Reuters reported earlier this month, will focus on trading canola and its processed products oil and meal, as well as wheat, barley and soybeans, COFCO said in a statement.

Harvest time in Canada runs mainly from August to October.

“At a time of tremendous demand pull from China, we see our new Canadian office as key to connecting Canadian farmers to the Chinese market,” Chief Executive Matt Jansen said.

Canada is the world’s biggest canola exporter and a major wheat exporter.

The company did not specify all the details of how it will buy and transport grains, but suggested it will purchase directly from farmers.

”We think our business model will have significant appeal to Canadian farmers, as we work to bring our consumers’ bids straight to the farm gate,” said Kevin Brassington, COFCO Agri’s global head of grains and oilseeds.

The company does not own any grain storage assets in Canada. Brassington said COFCO would work through existing supply chains or develop new ones.

COFCO has embarked on an aggressive expansion into international grain trading, investing over $3 billion to buy Noble Group’s agribusiness in March as well as a large stake in Dutch grain trader Nidera.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, editing by G Crosse

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