Canada's biggest pulse market in doubt after India rejects extending exemption
Protein-packed lentils. (AP/Larry Crowe)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:22PM EST
CALGARY -- Canada's top export market for its multi-billion-dollar pea and lentil crops industry is in doubt after India rejected extending a long-standing exemption on pest treatments.
Federal Agriculture Minister spokesman Guy Gallant confirmed the Indian government has not granted another six-month exemption that would have crops fumigated on arrival, rather than before export, as has been allowed for more than a decade.
The decision puts Canada's $1.5-billion worth of pulse exports to the country in jeopardy because the required treatment of methyl bromide doesn't work in the cold and also is being phased out because it's damaging to the ozone layer.
Some shippers have already stopped accepting pulses for export to India over fears they will be rejected on arrival, since the current exemption expires at the end of March.
Gallant said the federal government is still working on a long-term solution, and that the issue will come up when Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay visits India next week.
The trade issue comes after exports of peas and lentils to India grew by 20 per cent a year between 2010 and 2015 to account for about a third of all pulse exports for Canada's 12,000 pulse farmers.