India's Commerce and Industry Ministry took another step towards its goal to shore up internal grain prices and promote planting of pulse crops by banning all imports of yellow peas from April 1 through June 30. The ban will not affect export shipments paid for prior to April 25.
This move comes just days and weeks ahead of prairie seeding, with the first of #plant18 pictures on Twitter of peas being seeded in Southern Alberta appearing on April 23.
Given the monthly volumes shipped as seen with the blue bars on the attached graphic, a total of 1.587 million metric tons of peas have been exported to all destinations in the August-through-February period, as reported by Statistics Canada. This volume is down close to 900,000 metric tons or 36.2% from the same period last year, as indicated by Statistics Canada data.
Over this same period, the volume shipped to India has fallen from 1.119 mmt in 2016/17, or 45% of the total volume shipped, to 269,761 mt, which reflects just 17% of the total volume shipped and down 76% from the same period in the previous crop year. The last four months (November-through-February) have seen India's share of total exports averaging just 4% of total volumes shipped.
Wednesday's news comes in conjunction with India's agriculture ministry releasing grain production targets for the 2018/19 crop year. "IMD has forecast normal monsoon this year, which indicates the likelihood of good production in the coming kharif season," stated Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh as reported by India Today. India's total pulse production is estimated at 24 million metric tons for 2018/19, slightly higher than the 23.95 mmt target for 2017/18.
The numerous measures taken to slow or stop imports, which will likely curb acres dedicated to pulse crops in almost all producing nations, along with the confidence displayed in the country's ability to grow one record crop after another, will be an interesting test.
UkrAgroConsult reported on a speech presented by agri-market expert G. Chandrashekhar, who estimates that India's total pulse demand is 30 mmt annually and expected to grow. This results in the need to import 5 mmt to 6 mmt each year, according to the speaker, although this remains tied to achieving record production levels. He feels the market will achieve a balance by September when tax policies will be revised in order to stimulate imports. This notion has been echoed by Canadian industry participants in recent months.
Statistics Canada's first look at producers' seeding intentions will be released on April 27.
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