Chickpea market bullish with supply shortage

Prices for chickpeas in Western Canada have been moving higher over the past month, as global supplies of the specialty crop have taken hit with poor production around the world.

“Around the world, chickpea crops have been a disaster,” said Colin Young, manager of R. Young Seeds at Mortlach, Sask. “There is a huge premium on high-quality product, and then all of the other levels follow in line. Overall stocks are incredibly low.

“Mexico had a severe frost. Turkey and Russia both had very poor crops. Australia had well-publicized problems with their crop as well. We had a poor crop in here in Canada as well.”

Even though there is a shortfall of supply, Young didn’t think many chickpeas would see an increase in acres this spring

“After the hits producers took last year, I think they are pretty hesitant to increase chickpea acres, so I would suspect they will see a considerable drop,” he said. “The other issue is that there are just so many other crops with that are easier to grow and more profitable.”

Current wet conditions across most of Saskatchewan are also not favourable for chickpeas.

“They typically like conditions drier and warmer than a normal season, and because of the length of the season you want to seed them early,” Young said. “So if we have a slow melt and a cool spring, it is not favourable for chickpeas. If it is cold and wet, the seed will rot.”

Young said he expected to see the market stay high for the foreseeable future.

“There aren’t significant stocks left in bins, and this year’s acreage is a question mark, so it should stay pretty strong,” he said.

Current elevator deliveries for Kabuli chickpeas in Western Canada were bringing as much as 40 cents per pound, while Desi chickpeas were bringing as much as 24.5 cents per pound, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire.

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