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Executive Director’s Message (PCN Spring 2017) MAR 28 2017 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Leanne Fischbuch, Executive Director

Your grower organization has been active this winter addressing change. Producers may ask what has changed that is so important for the industry? In the late fall, Health Canada issued a review of the use of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, and recommended a ban on the use of that product. There was a comment period of 90 days issued upon the announcement and subsequent 30-day extension.

For the pulse industry – dry beans, lentils, field peas, faba beans – imidacloprid is not a product that is of great significance, but for the soybean industry it is. What is more concerning is that Health Canada is also undergoing a review of thiamethoxam – a chemistry that is more significant for the pulse industry in treatment of soil borne pests like pea leaf weevil.

In working to provide comment to the imidacloprid review, APG is leading coordination of the pulse grower organization response with Pulse Canada to provide comments to Health Canada and learn how these reviews are completed and what is essential for feedback. This will aid us significantly in getting ready for the thiamethoxam review.

Another change that could be quite significant is with India. As I write this, the pulse industry has been working with other departments within the federal government, such as Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Market Industry Services Branch and alongside the Canadian Grain Commission, to bring forward a systems approach for market access into India. Canada is India’s largest supplier of pulses and India is Canada’s largest market for pulses, accounting for more than $1.1 billion and more than 1.9 million tonnes in 2016.  Approximately 33 per cent of total Canadian pulse exports and 42 per cent of Canadian pea exports moved to India in 2016.

Pulses are part of the health, nutrition and environmental sustainability attributes that are important to the rising middle class within India. With rising middle class incomes, strong population growth, and continued interest in using pulses in food products because of their health, nutrition and environmental sustainability attributes, import demand for pulses in India is expected to continue to increase.

This past fall, India gave notice to the Canadian government that they will no longer be accepting pulses that are not fumigated at origin. The issue is being worked on at highest levels government to government and will hopefully be solved shortly to continue to allow Canadian pulses into the country.

APG has also been active with Pulse Canada’s Value Chain MRL committee this winter. The committee meets to review and recommend the information to be provided on the pulse industry’s Grower Advisory. The committee is comprised of agronomists, producers, grower organization staff and industry members. This year’s advisory was being worked on as Pulse Crop News went to print. Please consult the latest document, but please keep in contact with the grower organizations for updates to the information.

There was also change within the organization as Alberta Pulse Growers welcomed a new Chair and new board members after our Annual General Meeting. D’Arcy Hilgartner was elected to Chair the organization and Greg Stamp (Zone 1) and Chris Allam (Zone 3) joined the provincial board. APG welcomed back Bean Director at Large Tim VanderHoek and NonBean Director at Large John Kowalchuk. The organization also said goodbye to two Directors, Robert Weisgerber (Zone 1) and James Jackson (Zone 3).

The board looks forward to continuing the hard work of the industry in 2017. Building on the momentum of International Year of Pulses 2016 and capturing the opportunities that the celebration provided will be key to growth and advancement for the industry. As we come to the end of meeting season and look forward to the growing season, Alberta Pulse Growers staff and Directors are wishing you a safe and productive spring.