Canadian pulse exports face market changes

Pea sales to India have slowed considerably, while China became Canada’s number one buyer this year

WINNIPEG — After a year that saw Canada’s largest pulse importer, India, impose import tariffs, Canadian pulse crops are seeing a shift in export dynamics.

Lentil and pea exports in Canada are down this year compared to last. According to data from the Canadian Grain Commission, lentil exports as of June 17 were at 264,200 tonnes, compared to 836,300 tonnes last year. Pea exports dropped to 1,843,900 tonnes from 3,280,400 tonnes last year.

There were decreases for lentil and pea production, according to Statistics Canada. Lentils dropped to 2,558,500 tonnes from 3,193,800 tonnes, while peas fell to 4,112,200 tonnes from 4,835,900 tonnes.

Buyers of Canadian pulses have also changed this year. India dropped out of the top 10 countries for lentil exports after previously being the number one export market, according to the Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database.

While India is still in the top 10 for Canadian pea exports, the amount it is importing has dropped. For the first four months of 2018, India has imported about 36,000 tonnes compared to 845,300 tonnes last year at this same time.

India’s import tariffs have affected Canada’s pulse exports to the country. Toward the end of 2017, India imposed import tariffs on peas, followed by tariffs on lentils and chickpeas. This caused pea and lentil prices to drop in Canada as exporters struggled to find new markets.

China is the top importer of Canadian peas this year, having increased imports to about 512,400 tonnes so far in 2018, compared to about 317,800 tonnes last year. Exports to India dropped to about 36,000 tonnes from 845,300 tonnes.

Overall, Canada is exporting more chickpeas this year, and according to the Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database, chickpeas are being exported to more countries than before. Most of the top buyers, such as the United States and Pakistan, have halved their import numbers, while other countries, such as Algeria, have started to buy Canadian chickpeas, leading to a more diverse international market.

Canadian producers also grew more chickpeas last year, with production rising to 86,100 tonnes in 2017 from 75,200 in 2016, according to Statistics Canada.

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