Pulse weekly outlook: Increased demand seen, but problems loom

MarketsFarm — Unlike other commodities, pulses aren’t yet feeling ill effects from an economic downturn due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, according to Marcos Mosnaim of Globeways Canada in Mississauga.

With consumers panic-buying, there has been increased demand for pulses, as many are non-perishable, Mosnaim said.

“These products will be there for ages,” he said, suspecting many consumers may very well be unsure as to how to prepare pulses.

And with spring arriving, other consumers could shift away from pulses to fresh produce.

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However, there’s one angle especially worrying to Mosnaim: transportation. He’s concerned about the transportation system breaking down under a COVID-19 pandemic — including imports, with returning cargo ships lacking the goods they would be normally carry on backhaul.

Then there’s the issue of exports, as rail blockades resulted in lengthy delays at Canada’s ports — especially at Vancouver, which handles the bulk of outbound shipments.

On top of the backlog caused by the blockades were issues created by the late harvest, the strike at Canadian National Railway in November, and weather-related problems along rail lines during the winter.

Together with these transportation issues, Mosnaim said there could be problems in getting supplies to farms for spring planting, such as fertilizer.

“This will be very interesting to see what happens,” he said.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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