Canadian pulse farmers must decide if it is even worth planting peas and lentils this spring with steep tariffs announced by India. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian pulse farmers hoping India, Canada find agreement by June

OTTAWA — Canadian pulse farmers are in the midst of deciding if it is even worth planting peas and lentils this spring, as steep tariffs from their No. 1 customer cut deep into their profit margins.

However Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada. says there is some hope that an end is in sight for a long-standing irritant between India and Canada which requires Canadian farmers to treat their pulses with chemicals for pests that don’t actually exist here.

Bacon says India’s requirement that all pulse imports be treated with methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting pesticide, has been in place for 15 years but Canada’s concern was only raised at the highest levels in India when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought it onto the agenda in his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month in New Delhi.

Bacon says India will renew its pesticide requirements in June and hopes Canada and India will reach their promised agreement before then, but he wants to see exactly what Canada is now doing to make that happen.

He says there is no value for Canadian farmers to export pulses to India as long as the pesticide requirement is in place.

Canadian exports of peas and lentils to India plummeted 92 per cent in the last two months of 2017 compared with the year before after India slapped a 33 per cent import duty on lentils and 50 per cent on peas.

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