Demand may encourage more red lentil acres: AGT

MarketsFarm — Improving lentil prices over the past month may encourage more acres of the pulse crop in Western Canada this spring, according to an industry official, as seeding is set to start within the next few weeks.

“With the recent March demand surge, mostly due to COVID-19, pulse prices have increased sending a signal to growers around the world,” Gaetan Bourassa, chief operating officer with AGT Foods, said in an interview with the Global Pulse Confederation.

“Being that this occurred just before the 2020 seeding cycle, there’s a good chance red lentil acreage in Canada will be up more than 30 per cent over last year,” he said.

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Most pulse crops could see a last-minute uptick, he added, aside from kabuli chickpeas which have a large carryout and did not strengthen to the same extent as other pulses.

Spot bids for old-crop red lentils have risen by about 7.5 cents/lb. over the past month, with current bids as high as 31.5 cents/lb., according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data. New-crop pricing tops out at around 27 cents/lb.

Green lentils have increased by roughly the same amount, with No. 2 large greens also hitting 31 cents/lb. on the spot market, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire.

“During this time of uncertainty, we think many consumers will favor cheaper proteins that can be stored and feed families for longer periods of time,” Bourassa said, adding “there will also likely be even more household discussion and introduction of pulses and pulse foods into everyday diets.”

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