India is once again extending the exemption on its import tariffs on yellow peas.

India initially imposed a 50 per cent duty on peas in November of 2017, followed by other restrictions limiting import volumes in 2018.

That move virtually shut Canada out of the market at that time, up until that point India had been Canada's number one market for peas.
On December 8, 2023, India announced it would temporarily lift the import tariffs from December 8, 2023  to March 31st, 2024 allowing unrestricted imports.

Then in mid-February that deadline was extended to April 30th and late last week India announced it would extend that deadline to June 30, 2024.

Pulse Canada's President Greg Cherewyk says India's decision to temporarily lift the tariff and the restrictions has allowed Canada to ship peas into that country tariff-free for the first time in the last six years.

"While official data is still lagging behind our unofficial sources tell us that we would expect to ship anywhere between 800.000 and 900,000 tonnes by the time this window closes at the end of June. So very significant for Canada."

Since the news that we now have tariff-free unrestricted access to India, pea prices have seen a rebound.  

Cherewyk says there are a few factors influencing India's decision from retail food inflation to pulse price inflation which climbed from 16 per cent in January to 18 per cent in February.

"The government stepped in with what they call supply-side efforts to control prices, which means, you know, opening the market, ensuring that there's tariff-free access on not just  peas but on lentils as well."

As well, India's winter season crops - pigeon pea and chickpeas - are coming in lower than expected due to a decline in acreage and in yield.

He points out that from an Indian government perspective affordability and availability of pulses are a priority, especially right now as they head into an election.

"The first phase of the election cycle will kick off here on April 19th it will wrap early June. So, you know, while the price inflation and affordability are always a priority for any government. It's particularly important right now as we're heading into the final stages of the campaign, heading into election mode."

Cherewyk says at this point we don't know what will happen after that June 30th deadline or if we'll see it extended again.

To hear Glenda-Lee's conversation with Pulse Canada's President Greg Cherewyk click on the link below.