Canadian farmers cut back pea production in wake of India import tax

Al Wishloff has had peas in his crop rotation for 33 years, but next spring, the Blaine Lake, Sask., farmer said he may replace peas with a different pulse crop.

“Once we get closer into seeding, we’ll have to examine some alternative crops other than peas. We’re sitting on some inventory right now and it’s a substantial loss if we continue, so we may have to move on to something different,” Wishloff said.

Wishloff and many other Canadian farmers are looking to cut back land devoted to pea production in the wake of India’s new tariff.

Earlier this month, the Indian government announced a 50 per cent tax on all pea imports to improve their own pulse crop economy.

Canada is India’s largest supplier of peas, chickpeas and lentils. About 50 per cent of Canadian pea production takes place in Saskatchewan, with about two million acres devoted to growing the crop, according to Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

“We’ll likely limit yellow pea exports to India for the foreseeable future,” Carl Potts, the executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, said.

Potts said there may be a boost in Soybean production as farmers cut back peas.

“If farmers are looking for another nitrogen-fixing crop in their rotation, they may look to soybeans. Soybeans have been increasing in acres very significantly over the last few years,” Potts said.

The Indian pea import tax has no expiry date, but Potts anticipates it will be longer than a few months.



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