Ernst and Young (EY) awarded the 2016 Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year award to Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO of AGT Food and Ingredients, a public company dealing in pulse crops with 40 facilities based on five continents. Looking back on EY's previous winners, no other recipient has come from Saskatchewan and it appears that this is the first time that this award was presented to an agricultural operation as indicated in EY's information going back to 1994. This helps throw the spotlight on the remarkable efforts of Canadian agriculture to meet current and future challenges in meeting demand for food.
In a Regina Leader-Post interview, Francois Tellier, EY partner and national entrepreneur of the year director, stated "his (Al-Katib) work has created a far-reaching ripple effect that has revived the pulse industry and made a big impact on Saskatchewan's economy at the same time. What Murad has been able to achieve in a relatively short time is nothing short of inspiring."
Takeaways from an interview with Al-Katib on Business News Network include:
-- Al-Katib reported that Saskatchewan planted 11 million acres of lentils and peas in 2016, a number that suggests further upward planted acre revisions may be coming from Statistics Canada on Dec. 6.
-- By 2050, world population will be 30% higher, while the amount of food required to feed the world will need to increase by 70%.
-- The key to political stability is food. Al-Katib stated "if a baby is hungry, they cry; if a 19-year old man is unemployed and hungry, they protest."
-- "The societal solution to feeding the world is vegetable proteins." Al-Katib said it takes 1,850 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, while only 43 gallons to produce a pound of vegetable proteins.
-- The prosperity of Canadians for decades to come is tied to our ability to monetize commodities. While the focus of Canadian governments is on the environment and sustainability, agriculture is already on the "cutting edge" in terms of its greenhouse gas footprint. Canadians need to celebrate successes already accomplished within industry.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month in Canada. Statistics show one in three Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Thursday's Calgary Herald contained a piece by dietician Andrea Holwinger, who said pulses and vegetables are the key to prevention and control. Holwinger referred to pulses as "nutritional powerhouses" that are high in protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron and more. A recent Canadian Diabetes Association review classes pulses as low-glycemic index foods, enter the blood stream slowly and help in the management of blood sugars. They also act to lower blood cholesterol and add necessary fiber to the diet.
Director-General of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Maria Helena Semedo stated this week that the awareness of the nutritional and dietary benefits from eating pulses remains inadequate and more must be done to promote their inclusion in diets. 2016 has been named the International Year of Pulses and progress has been achieved, however, "it is essential to keep the momentum alive." In a Global Dialogue conference held at FAO offices, Semedo also noted the benefit that pulses add to the production of other crops by fixing nitrogen and increasing soil fertility.
As of week 15, or the week ending November 13, producers have delivered 1.989 million metric tons of dry peas into licensed facilities (48%) and 994,900 metric tons of lentils (89%), with the year-over-year percent change in brackets. Note that this excludes pulses delivered into unlicensed plants. Exports to date are reported at 1.547 mmt for peas, up 34% from the same period in 2015/16, and 378,400 mt for lentils, up only slightly from last year (licensed exports only). More complete export data for the month ending October will be released by Statistics Canada in early December.
As of Nov. 24, dry pea prices reported by Statpub.com remained mostly flat, with yellow peas delivered to Saskatchewan plants averaging $8.48/bushel, the highest level seen since July and compares to the $9.98/bu reported this time last year. Green peas averaged $8.96/bu., also the highest level seen since July and compares to $8.71/bu reported this time last year. Feed peas are shown to have strengthened over the past week to $7.03/bu.
Lentil prices continue to inch higher. Large green lentils are reported at $63.28/cwt, 41.5% higher than the August low. This compares to the $59.28/cwt reported this time last year. Red lentils are reported to average $31.58/cwt, up 22.5% from their September low. Reds remain well below the $44.78 reported on the same week in 2015.
DTN 360 Poll
This week's poll asks what you think we can look forward to in row-crop prices (soybeans and corn) over the balance of the crop year. We encourage you to share your thoughts on this poll, found at the lower-right side of your DTN Home Page.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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