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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Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin

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