With 1.1 million MT of peas and 600,000 MT of lentils exported in November, Canadian pulse exports should remain strong in the coming months.

By wpengine

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The first five months of the 2013/14 crop year have seen strong exports of Canadian pulses, with both peas and lentils running well ahead of year ago levels. Peas exports to the end of November, the most recent month for which official statistics have been released, came in at 1.1 million MT, compared to just over 900,000 MT last year.

India and China are by far the two biggest destinations. Traditionally India was the single most dominant market, but China has been closing the gap in recent years as purchases saw steady growth, and actually become the largest market through the first half of the current year. In fact, China has already purchased as much as they did during the entire season just a couple of years ago.

Whether Canada will be able to export peas at the same pace through the upcoming months will largely be a function of logistical capacity. The supplies are available, but backlogs in the country have slowed movement of all crops, and many grain companies are giving wheat and canola preferential treatment for whatever shipping capacity they have available.

Lentil movement has also been impressive, running at 600,000 MT to the end of November compared to just 480,000 MT during the same period a year ago. The bulk of this increase has been in red lentils, with green lentil exports just marginally higher. Green lentil demand tends to be somewhat less variable from one year to the next, so this pattern is not surprising. The countries seeing the biggest change from year ago levels are primarily in the Middle East, including Turkey, Egypt and the UAE.

More lentils move via container rather than through bulk channels. This helps make lentil movement somewhat less vulnerable to the problems seen with crops that rely heavily on bulk shipments, although it won’t be able to avoid the challenges entirely.

Of the smaller pulse crops, dry beans have also seen strong early season exports, including for navy and pinto beans. However, chickpea exports have been disappointing, as strong production through other growing regions in the world have made Canadian supplies less competitive.

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