Pea exports to establish new record

(Resource News International) — Demand for Canadian peas has been exceptionally strong during the 2008-09 crop year and because of that strong interest, shipments will hit a new record high, according to a federal farm market analyst.

“Exports of Canada’s peas will hit a record 2.6 million metric tons in 2008-09,” said Bobby Morgan, the pulse and special crops analyst with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s market analysis division in Winnipeg.

That would surpass the current record, 2.566 million tonnes, established in 2005-06.

Canada’s pea exports were sitting at 2.4 million tonnes with a month left in the crop year, Morgan said. Shipments of peas per month have been running at roughly 200,000 tonnes, mainly from Canada’s West Coast.

“It certainly is not unreasonable to believe that shipments won’t hit the record during that last month,” he said.

Most of the pea demand has been from India, Morgan said, noting that Canadian shipments to that country will likely hit the 1.3 million-tonne level during 2008-09, compared with 1.1 million in 2007-08 and 900,000 in 2006-07.

India’s growing population and domestic crop production problems have made it necessary for that country to seek out alternative suppliers, Morgan said. Canada’s yellow food quality peas have been fitting that need.

Canadian pea shipments to Bangladesh have also increased significantly with exports seen hitting the 500,000-tonne level in 2008-09, Morgan forecast. That would be up from 400,000 the previous year and 300,000 in 2006-07.

China’s demand for Canada’s peas was seen holding steady in 2008-09 at 250,000 tonnes. Cuba was expected to import close to 150,000 tonnes of Canada’s peas in 2008-09, which would be up from preceding years, when shipments from Canada have ranged from as low as 30,000 tonnes to as much as 100,000, Morgan said.

Morgan said Europe was seen taking roughly 75,000 to 100,000 tonnes of Canada’s feed peas during the 2008-09 crop year.

Canada’s pea exports in the upcoming 2009-10 crop year, however, were expected to decline slightly, falling to 2.45 million tonnes as production in Western Canada declines from the previous season amid acreage shifts and yield reductions, Morgan said.

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