India was the guest that was notable by its absence at the recent Pulse and Special Crops Convention at Regina.
The country has pulled back substantially from the pulse market and, although there were few attendees from that area of world, India was mentioned often from the stage and in the corridors.
Dale Leftwich had a chance to talk to Gord Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada, about the current state of affairs, and what actions are being taken to make the situation better.
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Bacon says trade relations may be distorted for some time because, “India has made a real shift in it’s domestic policy to pay Indian farmers more than the world price for it’s pulses.” But even with that, Pulse Canada continues to work hard to make sure Canada is ready to respond quickly to changes in the market.
One long standing irritant is India’s position on fumigation. “Canada for many years has said that we don’t have the pests of concern that India is putting phytosanitary restrictions in place for, so we shouldn’t be having to live by the rules for a pest that doesn’t exist.” India had to renew its fumigation policy July 1st and Bacon was hoping Canada would get an exemption at that time, but it was not forthcoming. Both Canada and India’s governments have agreed to continue to work on the issue.
Bacon points out that as part of his presentation, “the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Chris Forbes, talked about the need for enhanced predictability and transparency.”
Canada is not alone in being affected by this this arbitrary changing of rules. For this reason, Bacon says, “(predictability and transparency) might be something that we can work with other countries (on), who are also affected by these same policies in India, that pretty much have clamped down and restricted trade for everybody.”
The theme that was reiterated by different people throughout the conference was neatly summed up by Bacon: “Trade needs predictability. We need some policy that, I think, starts to drive us into a more predictable environment.”