India's Reliance on Canadian Pulses, NAFTA Uncertainty, & New Elevator Construction: Viterra CEO Kyle Jeworski

The CEO of one of Canada’s largest grain companies is “very optimistic” a timely resolution will be reached to maintain Canadian pulse crop shipments to India.

A looming change to India’s phytosanitary policy for pulse imports effective April 1 has left sales to Canada’s largest pulse export market in limbo over the last few weeks.

“Canada realizes the importance of India as a trade partner on pulses, and I believe India recognizes Canada as a very large and consistent supplier of pulses, so there’s mutual reliance on one another for a very important product,” says Kyle Jeworski, president and CEO of Viterra North America, in the interview below. “That alone gives me reason for a lot of optimism that this will be resolved in a timely manner.”

Viterra CEO Kyle Jeworski at the Canola Council of Canada Convention in Winnipeg this week.

Recent comments from Indian government officials about becoming self-sufficient in pulse production are unrealistic, he says.

“We’ve often talked about various countries that have desires for self-sufficiency. I look at what the desire is and what’s realistic, and I don’t think with the size of India’s population and the growth of India’s population, that it is realistic that they’ll be self-sufficient on pulses,” notes Jeworski. “I don’t think that changes in a country that’s adding over 20 million people annually to their population.”

After participating in a panel discussion at the Canola Council’s 50th anniversary convention in Winnipeg this week, the CEO of the Regina-based grain company sat down with us for a wide-ranging conversation on a number of topics, including:

  1. the India pulse export dilemma;
  2. what’s driving the wave of investment we’re seeing in grain elevators and port capacity in Western Canada (including Viterra’s $100 million port upgrade focused on shipping pulses across the Pacific);
  3. the federal rail legislation that’s expected this spring; and
  4. the uncertainty/opportunities Viterra sees when it comes to trade relations between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, and more.

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