Canadian pulse growers should be collectively exhaling a breath of relieve after a recent announcement that access to the market in India will continue.
There had been indications of rules being tweaked in that country which would have been an impediment to pulse exports from this country accessing the critical Indian market.
India had granted a series of exemptions since 2004 to an import regulation regarding mandatory fumigation of imported crops, in recognition of Canada’s cold climate. The end of the current exemption on March 31, 2017, had threatened to disrupt trade, by adding significant costs to preparing exports for the market.
At first blush the rules changes seemed a tad short-sighted given the amount of pulses which Canada has exported there in recent years, although the changes did correspond with a better crop in India, so it was as much about protecting domestic farmers as anything.
Or, at least it gave that impression to domestic farmers.
But things have apparently been smoothed over, at least in the short term.
A three month extension to the current fumigation protocol is in effect from April 1 until June 30. Pulse exports currently in transit or which will arrive on or before June 30, 2017, will not require fumigation in Canada.
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade recently issued the following statement on securing continued access for Canadian pulses to India.
“Following representations to the Government of India and visits to Delhi earlier this month by both ministers, Canada has secured continued access to the Indian market for Canadian pulse exporters,” detailed a joint press release. “… This new exemption means that Canadian pulse exports leaving Canada on or before June 30, 2017, will not require fumigation in Canada. We will maintain on-going trade while officials on both sides continue to work towards a long-term, science-based solution.”
Finding a solution to the impasse was important given the market’s importance to the Canadian pulse sector.
In 2016, pulse exports to India were worth over $1.1 billion and accounted for 27.5 per cent of Canada’s global pulse exports.
In Saskatchewan the extension, which hopefully allows time for a more permanent solution, is particularly important.
In 2016, Saskatchewan exported $1.1 billion of pulse crop to India.
As Canada’s leader in pulse crop production, Saskatchewan’s 17,000 pulse growers produce 99 per cent of Canada’s chickpeas, 84 per cent of Canada’s lentils and 49 per cent of Canada’s dry peas.
The Government of Saskatchewan welcomes the extension to India’s pulse fumigation exemption, which will maintain uninterrupted access for Saskatchewan pulse crops to the important Indian market.
Now the work for a longer term deal must get under way to protect the industry here in Canada.
Calvin Daniels is Editor with Yorkton This Week.