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LISTEN, LEARN, NETWORK… A report on my experience at CICILS IPTIC (PCN Summer 2014) JUL 9 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Allison Ammeter, APG Vice President

In May 2014, I was given the opportunity to represent the Alberta Pulse Growers at an international pulse trading conference known as CICILS IPTIC. I travelled to Capetown, South Africa, with a fair amount of excitement, but also a fair number of questions in my mind, such as:

WHY is anybody attending an international pulse trading conference?

WHY is Alberta Pulse Growers sending a commissioner/director to a pulse trading conference?

My first inkling of what I was getting into was receiving the list of attendees and the agenda. Wow – over 500 attendees from 39 countries, with the majority being from Turkey, India, and North America. Three days of a packed agenda, from speakers on topics such as “Global Supply and Demand Outlook” to interactive panels on individual commodities such as peas, kabuli chickpeas, or red lentils. A large chunk of the agenda was also devoted to discussions on the 2016 International Year of Pulses, and how countries and organizations involved with pulses could prepare for it. It was obvious from these two documents that my key words would be “listen”, “learn”, and “network”. So, off I went to Africa to Listen, Learn, and Network.

As I attended sessions and networked in the coffee areas, my questions were soon answered. For many traders and pulse organizations, this is the key time each year when they can interact with friends and competitors from around the world, sharing commodity information, making new contacts, striking trading deals. It would be fascinating to know how many new deals were inked and how many tonnes of pulses were committed during those three days.

By the way, there were 32 Canadian organizations represented there by 43 people. There were also a number of commodity organizations like Alberta Pulse Growers, including Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Pulse Canada, Pulse Australia, US Dry Bean Council, US Dry Pea and Lentil Council, Japan Pea and Beans Association, South Africa Dry Beans Producers Organization, and the Leguminous Association of Ukraine.

As a board member of a commodity organization that represents farmers who export a large percentage of the world’s pulses, it was apparent to me why APG sends a representative to CICILS IPTIC. I was asked many times about our crops, our weather conditions, and our grain transportation. It was dismaying to me to hear Canadian transportation woes from the winter of 2014 mentioned in keynote speeches at a global trading forum. My answer was always, yes, it was a serious problem, but we are working on it and making it better. And yes, I do sincerely believe that within a couple of years, that will be true – it will be better.

One of the highlights of the convention for me was participating in the IYOP (International Year of Pulses) discussions. I have been a member of the Canadian Committee for IYOP for a few months, strategizing and planning towards maximizing the value of this United Nations designation. It was energizing to meet in a room with a few hundred people truly excited about the possibilities. After the first presentation, they asked people to stand and share ideas for promoting IYOP. My description to those who weren’t there was that it was like “whack-a-mole” … people so excited to share ideas that more than one stood at a time.

I came home with great ideas, great contacts, and great enthusiasm for all that the 2016 International Year of Pulses will hold for us as an organization and for pulse farmers in general. Check out my article about IYOP on Page 36.