Pulse weekly outlook: Lentil exports up on year

MarketsFarm — Canadian lentil exports are running well ahead of the year-ago level, according to the latest numbers.

Canada exported 267,462 tonnes of lentils in March, the second-highest monthly total of the crop year to date and well above the 130,980 tonnes exported during the same month the previous year. The United Arab Emirates was a major customer in March, taking 61,795 tonnes.

Total Canadian lentil exports of 1.536 million tonnes are up by about 200,000 tonnes compared to 2019-20.

Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh and India were also noted buyers in March. While increased import tariffs continue to limit some demand from India, the major pulse buyer has increased its purchases over the past year, and has imported 365,713 tonnes of Canadian lentils as of the end of March. That’s up by about 21 per cent on the year.

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Solid demand has underpinned domestic Canadian lentil prices over the past month, with red lentil bids at their best levels of the past year and green lentils also strong. Spot bids for red lentils are currently as high as 32 cents/lb., according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data. Large green lentils are also topping 30 cents in some areas.

While some of the strength in lentils is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting increase in demand, the pandemic has also caused some logistical issues that may temper some future movement.

The majority of lentils move by container, and exporters have run into difficulties sourcing containers as the flow of other goods has slowed down.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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