Pulse weekly outlook: India’s drought could be field pea opportunity

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MarketsFarm — Though India has curbed its pulse crop imports from Canada in recent years due to disagreements over crop control and fumigation, a challenging growing season in India could make Canadian pulses more attractive.

Drought-like conditions in key growing areas of India have killed dozens of people and endangered crops. According to Reuters, key growing areas for soybean, pulses and other crops have seen rainfall significantly below average for monsoon season.

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The Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh provinces have observed the lowest rainfall levels in more than 60 years, following lower rainfall than normal in 2018.

“If rainfall delays further, it could change sowing patterns and could hurt crop yields as well,” B.V. Mehta, executive director of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), told Reuters.

According to India’s Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, total imports for field peas increased significantly in April. Approximately 132,000 tonnes of field peas were imported, a 197 per cent increase from the previous month.

Canada has exported 116,000 tonnes of peas to India so far this year, well below the 296,000 exported at the same time in 2018. The five-year average prior to India’s restrictions was 1.2 million tonnes, according to Canadian Grain Commission data.

The Canadian field pea has been stable for a while, with prices observed around the $6.50-$6.70 range. Right now, Canada is not expecting India to be a buyer of field peas.

According to one pulse expert, it’s not likely that Canadian peas will head to China anytime soon, either. Ukraine and China have made a handshake agreement in which Ukraine will export most of its field pea crop to China.

The agreement “might take four or five months to complete, but once it’s done we will be competing not just in India but in China as well,” said the trader.

— Marlo Glass writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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