Canada is resuming its lentil trade with India, according to an Indian commodity broker.
“I have heard that four or five containers of lentils have already been sold by large companies,” said Vivek Agrawal, director of JLV Agro.
It is assumed that the ships are booked for shipping in May-June.
Mr. Chandrashekhar, senior editor of the Hindu Business Line, heard the same reports that Indian importers purchased 500,000 tonnes of Canadian lentils in anticipation of a reduction in import duties on the crop.
Agrawal said there are widespread rumors that the Indian government will cut the tariff to 10 percent from 30 percent, probably sometime in mid to late May.
He expects the cut will be at least three months, but possibly six months.
The lower tariff rate will make Canadian lentils, which sell for between $ 760 and $ 780 per tonne, competitive in the Indian market.
The government is considering lowering the tariff as farmers harvest what is expected to be one million tons of rabi or winter lentils. This will be well below the government’s 1.35 million tonne target.
India consumes between two and 2.2 million tonnes of lentils annually, and there have been no exports since last year, so supplies will likely need to be supported by imports.
Saurab Bhartiya, a senior trader at Viterra India, recently told the Global Pulse Confederation that he expects 800,000 to one million tonnes of imports in 2021-22.
Agrawal noted that red lentils are consumed in the eastern part of the country, which is a price sensitive market. If prices rise too high, people will switch to cheaper pulses.
Green lentils are consumed in southern India as an alternative to pigeon peas when pigeon pea prices are high, as they are today.
Agrawal said the expected reduction in import duties could extend to Canada’s lentil harvest in 2021.
He does not foresee that the Indian government will reduce restrictions on imports of yellow peas, despite the fact that, according to many traders, the Indian rabi chickpea harvest will be much less than expected.
According to forecasts, the volume of chickpea trade will be about eight million tons against the government’s planned 11.5 million tons.
However, the demand for chickpeas in India has declined due to the government’s blocking of COVID.
Chickpeas sell for 55 rupees per kilogram. Agrawal said prices should rise above Rs 65 per kg before the government takes any action to lower restrictions on yellow peas imports.
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