CNS Canada — Even with one new pulse processing plant on line in Western Canada and more on the way, producers will still have to wait before these new ventures have a significant effect on marketing of their pulse crops.
Numerous pulse processing plants have been announced in the last year. French company Roquette broke ground on a C$400 million pea processing plant at Portage la Prairie, Man. last September. That same month, Academy Award-winning film director James Cameron announced he would be investing in a new multimillion-dollar pea processing plant in Vanscoy, Sask.
There was also news of possible pea processing facilities to be built in Moose Jaw, Sask., and in Alberta.
Since then the Vanscoy plant, Verdient Foods, has come on line. According to the company’s website Verdient plans to increase its annual production volume to over 160,000 tonnes.
“We’re hopeful in the next couple of years that (these new plants) will be translating into maybe about 600,000 tonnes of new demand overall per year. But as of right now there would really be one of those new plants up and running as far as I know,” said Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.
In the fall, Roquette said it tentatively would come on line by mid-year 2019. When contacted Tuesday, James Bozikis, head of communications and public affairs for the Americas with Roquette, said the plan now is to be operational by 2020.
“Everything is full speed ahead… we just announced… we expanded our plant in Vic-sur-Aisne, France for its pea processing production. And that’s part of our overall strategy to be a leader in that market in pea protein,” he said.
Since the flurry of pulse processing plant announcements, Canada has found itself facing pulse crop marketing issues. Over the winter, India placed import tariffs on peas, chickpeas and lentils, all but stopping Canada’s pulse exports to its largest customer.
Pulse producer organizations are optimistic that in the long term, the processing plants will help for domestic marketing of pulses. Overall in North America there has been a shift by consumers to consume more plant-based proteins.
“To me it’s part of a shift that’s underway, and how quickly does it have a significant impact on the Canadian industry? Well, probably not as quickly as the significant decline in imports from India. But it’s not like one was going to replace the other immediately,” said Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada.
Bacon noted he also knows of at least eight or nine pulse processing plants that have been announced to be built in the United States.
ADM announced that it is building a pea processing plant in North Dakota. Cargill has formed a partnership with Puris, a family-run company, to research pea protein.
“We think that additional processing capacity, be it on this side of the border or on the U.S. side is good and it’s likely that that can help too, sort of raise the market for all of those ingredients,” Potts said, adding that the Canada-U.S. border is fluid and grain and other agriculture products do travel south.
— Ashley Robinson writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow her at @AshleyMR1993 on Twitter.