WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — The Canadian government on Oct. 15 announced an agreement with Indonesia on wheat quality and safety standards.

The agreement gives Canada preferred status in a market worth more than $300 million a year to Prairie wheat farmers. On average, about 8% of all wheat exported each year by the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) goes to Indonesia, which is typically one of Canada's top five wheat customers.

"This agreement builds upon the strong and long-standing relationship between the Canadian Wheat Board and our valued Indonesian customers," said Ian White, CWB president and CEO. "I thank Minister Ritz for his efforts in reaching this agreement, which recognizes the high-quality and safety of grain from western Canada."

Indonesia recently imposed stricter phytosanitary controls on plant imports, including grains, to prevent the introduction and spread of pests. However, under the agreement, Canadian wheat exports will not be subject to the new measures, avoiding costly and time-consuming additional testing and controls.

In 2009-10, the CWB exported approximately 845 000 tonnes of wheat to the Asian nation. The previous year, western Canadian wheat exports totaled 934 000 tonnes. Indonesian customers buy Prairie wheat for breads, baking and noodles.

Controlled by western Canadian farmers, the CWB is the largest wheat and barley marketer in the world. One of Canada's biggest exporters, the Winnipeg-based company sells grain to over 70 countries and returns all sales revenue, less marketing costs, to Prairie farmers.