Canada hopes to export more pulses to India on better growth prospects
REGINA (CANADA): Jim Etter, a pulses farmer from Saskatchewan in CANADA, has been keenly following the monsoon's progress in India. After two years of good business, he expects markets to soften in the second half of 2016 with news of good rains in India. However, he is optimistic that with a growing economy and increasing purchasing power, Indians will eat more pulses and he will get the opportunity to sell more.
India is the biggest importer, consumer and producer of pulses with consumption touching 22-23 million tonne annually. It imports 3-4 million tonnes of the commodity from Canada, Australia, Myanmar and some African countries to meet the demand-supply gap. In 2015, Canada exported approximately $1.5 billion (2.4 million tonne) worth of pulses to India.
Like Etter, other farmers, traders and companies across Canada who grow, process and trade pulses for India's domestic market are closely monitoring the country's weather conditions, upcoming tenders to import pulses and the Indian government's policy on creating buffer and ensuring higher support prices for farmers.
"I have doubled the acreage under lentil this year to 4,500 acres from last year's 2,300 acres due to the good prices I got," said Etter, who farms on 7,000 acres in Richardson village, 10 km from Regina city in Saskatchewan. The farmer has 8,500 tonne of storage capacity in his farm and is looking to directly export pulses to India.
Farmers in Canada grow red lentil (masur), yellow peas (matar), green peas and green lentil for the Indian market. They are also trying to increase production of 'kabuli chana' and 'desi chana', looking at the market demand.
Generally, farmers who grow pulses in Canada sign contracts with large processors from Cargill to Glencore prior to seed plantation. Saskatchewan and Alberta are the key growing regions.
"India is a huge market with annual demand of pulses at 23 million tonne, which is annually growing by 10%. If weather remains good in India, pulses prices may come back to the 2013 level, which will further lead to a rise in demand for Canada produce," said Kanagaraj C Selvraj from WA Grain.
Similarly, Carl Potts, director, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, said the area under pulses in his state has doubled and there is opportunity for a further 25% growth in acreage. "In India, a farmer has the luxury of growing pulses in kharif and rabi seasons, unlike in Canada where we only have one season. In that limited time frame, we are aiming to grow as many pulses varieties for the Indian market," he said.
Looking at the growing acreage, pulses handling company Agrocorp Processing is now planning to add more capacity to meet India's demand. Patrick Pappenfoot, GM, Agrocorp, said they are planning to add 2,200 tonne capacity to their unit in Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan from the current 8,000 tonnes. "This expansion will help us to handle more pulses varieties and ship them to India and China," he said.
Farmers said pulses give them better returns compared to wheat and canola as the input cost-usage of fertilizer and herbicide is less.
Source: - Economictimes.indiatimes.com