The News & What it Means – Uncertainty for Peas and Lentils Amid Indian Fumigation Issue

By John DePutter & Dave Milne – September 26, 2017

 

The news:

The latest three-month exemption to India’s rules requiring fumigation of pulse crops is nearing its expiration date, and Canadians are no nearer to an understanding of what, exactly, that might mean.”

– RealAgriculture, Sep. 20, 2017

 

What it means:

No market likes uncertainty, but it seems like pea and lentil markets are stuck with it anyway.

 

Granted, we’ve been down this road so many times already that pulse crop producers may be tempted to simply assume things will work out like they always do – with a last-minute reprieve and it’s back to business as usual.

 

For those that don’t know the story here, a bit of background: Since 2004, India has exempted Canada from its requirement that all pulse crop shipments be fumigated with methyl bromide at the port of origin. The idea behind the requirement is that fumigation rids the cargo of any unwanted pests prior to its shipment and arrival in India.

 

Canada has always been granted an exemption, mainly because it’s too cold in Canada for fumigation to be effective, and there’s also the fact the use of methyl bromide is being phased out in this country.

 

The Indian government has typically always come through with the fumigation exemption, allowing trade between Canada and its biggest buyer of lentils and peas to continue relatively unimpeded. More recently, however, India has shown more reluctance to play ball. Indeed, the latest exemption, issued in July, is due to expire on Saturday.

 

And at this point, there’s still no word on whether another exemption is coming down the pike.

 

Certainly, the lack of a fumigation exemption wouldn’t completely kill the pea and lentil trade with India, given the cargoes could still be fumigated enroute in another country along the way. And while Prairie pea and lentil prices have weakened of late, that may have as much to do with usual seasonal pressure as it does the exemption issue.

 

Resolution needed

Regardless, the fumigation issue remains a trade irritant, and one that could still impact the bottom line of Prairie pulse producers. The Indian and Canadian sides have continued to work toward finding a more permanent solution – let’s hope there’s an agreement sooner rather than later.

 

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