At a time when worldwide supplies are tight, Western Canada appears headed toward an average chickpea harvest this year.
Colin Young, manager of Mid-West Grain Ltd. in Moose Jaw, said there is considerable variability in the Prairie chickpeas crop, with just localized showers across the main production province of Saskatchewan following a widespread rain event back in about May. Some crops appear to have good production potential, while others are below, he said.
Adding it all up, Young said he’s confident of an average crop.
In its latest supply-demand estimates released July 20, Agriculture Canada forecast 2022 Canadian chickpea output at 110,000 tonnes, up 44% from last year’s drought-impacted crop. But at an estimated 305,000 tonnes, the total new-crop supply is nonetheless projected to fall from 376,000 the previous year due to a sharp reduction in carry-in stocks from the old-crop marketing year. And even with a decline in exports, 2022-23 ending stocks are still projected to decline, falling to 120,000 tonnes from 150,000.
The global trend is similar. Last month, the Global Pulse Confederation announced that worldwide chickpea supplies could drop as much as 20% in 2022-23 amid fewer planted acres and the war between Russia and Ukraine. But there are other reasons too, according to Young.
“We have the lowest global carryover of chickpeas in five years,” he said. “Globally, production was quite poor. We’ve pulled through most of the carryover stocks in most of the world, including Canada. Our carryover stocks drew down and we followed it up with the lowest number of seeded acres globally in five years.”
Young added that chickpeas were considered an “underperformer” in 2021-22, convincing farmers to grow better-priced alternatives.
“The market is still waiting to see what the stocks are like, in terms of supply and quality in Canada. Do we have enough to carry us through our needs, or are we in a shortage? That chapter still needs to be written. But the undertone in the market is firm (for now),” Young said.
Top-end prices for 8 to 10 mm Kabuli chickpeas in Western Canada currently range from 46 to 48 cents/lb, up one-half to one cent from last month
Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.
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