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Canada likely to see less pea competition from Ukraine

Canada will face reduced competition in pea markets from one of its top rivals in 2019-20.

Ukraine harvested 583,000 tonnes of peas this year, down from 774,900 tonnes last year and 1.01 million tonnes in 2017, according to a recent report by the Global Pulse Confederation.

One of the reasons for the short crop was the 41 percent reduction in pea planting to 625,000 acres.

Ukraine has provided stiff competition in export markets in previous years. It shipped out 687,000 tonnes in 2018-19 and 870,000 tonnes the year before that, according to APK-Inform.

Spain accounted for 27 percent of Ukraine’s export program in 2018-19, buying 184,600 tonnes of peas followed by India with 117,900 tonnes and Turkey at 60,700 tonnes.

Sales to India were down 69 percent compared to the previous year, while Turkey’s purchases fell 54 percent, according to APK-Inform.

Brian Clancey, editor of Stat Publishing, said Black Sea pea exporters are going to have a tough time finding markets for their product this year because India has restricted imports through quotas and tariffs and China has phytosanitary concerns with Ukrainian peas.

He thinks Black Sea peas will likely be sold as a feed ingredient in countries like Spain and Italy. Grain production is down in those countries and they will need to import feedgrains.

“That not only creates an opportunity for Canadians to sell into that market but it creates more of an opportunity for Black Sea countries to dispose of their stocks,” said Clancey.

“The (feed) prices are not awful, so it’s not a big issue for them in terms of value.”

Pakistan is another potential market for Black Sea peas because there is a good trading relationship between the regions.

Clancey doesn’t know how the monsoon rains unfolded in Pakistan but if they were anything like northern India, the winter crop will have plenty of moisture for seeding and that could mean reduced demand from that region of the world.

Russia appears to be harvesting an ample pea crop. APK-Inform is forecasting 2.6 million tonnes of production, up from 2.3 million tonnes the previous year but down from the 3.3 million tonnes produced in 2017-18.

APK-Inform is forecasting 900,000 tonnes of exports out of Russia. It didn’t have numbers from the previous years.

Kazakhstan is a much smaller pea producer than the other two Black Sea countries. APK-Inform is forecasting 163,000 tonnes of production in 2019. The country exported 79,300 tonnes in 2018-19.

Canadian peas also compete with Australian chickpeas in markets like India. The Australian government is forecasting 284,000 tonnes of chickpea production, down from a high of two million tonnes in 2016-17.

Clancey doesn’t think Ukraine’s small crop and the likelihood that Black Sea peas will make their way into feed markets this year is necessarily bullish for Canadian peas.

That is because there are large pea crops being harvested in Canada and the United States.

Agriculture Canada is forecasting 4.7 million tonnes of Canadian peas, the second biggest crop on record.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is estimating 1.01 million tonnes of U.S. peas, again the second largest crop.

Clancey said Canadian prices will be determined by the size and pace of the export program, grower willingness to deliver the crop and crop quality.

Farmers delivered 1.22 million tonnes of peas into the system through week 11 of the 2019-20 crop year, which is 36 percent ahead of the previous year’s pace, according to Canadian Grain Commission statistics.

Grain companies have exported 775,600 tonnes of the crop, 64 percent ahead of the same period last year.

Clancey said it is too early to determine crop quality but there is going to be more damage in Canada than the U.S. because the crop went in the ground later up north and was exposed to more harvest rains.

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