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Pulse Canada says trade mission to India fruitful

The pulse trade in Canada is hailing the discussions and agreement on key trade issues between Canadian Agriculture’s Minister Gerry Ritz and India’s Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar as significant progress to safeguard and expand pulse trade between Canada and India.

“This has been the first mission to India where ministers have agreed on the action that is needed to ease trade by addressing regulatory barriers impacting trade between our countries. And, at the same time, Canadian and Indian regulatory agencies have recognized the importance of working together to find solutions that reflect the commercial realities of pulse trade,” said Gordon Bacon, CEO of the Canadian Special Crop Association and Pulse Canada. Bacon was part of the delegation that travelled with Ritz to India earlier this month.

India is Canada’s largest pea market, and Canada supplies over 50 per cent of India’s pulse imports. “Canadian farmers and Indian consumers will benefit from our goal of reducing costs associated with regulations impacting pulse trade,” said Bacon. “We now have a timeline for agreement on action and we have an extension of the interim policy for another six months which gives the trade certainty about the rules that will apply until the end of September 2009.”

Pulse Canada is highly supportive of Ritz’s recognition that the changing retail sector in India represents an opportunity to create new demand. “The minister’s meeting with Reliance, one of India’s fastest-growing Fortune 500 companies, gave us an opportunity to talk to their CEO about opportunities for growth focusing on health and nutrition,” said Bacon.

During the meeting, Reliance’s CEO Sanjeev Asthana said that a focus on health will attract a niche market of at least five to 10 per cent of India’s population. “India is a price-sensitive market, but 10 per cent of the population means a potential market of over 100 million people that would be interested in the connection between health and Canadian pulses,” said Bacon.

“We can build on the existing pulse market base in India through exploring partnerships with retailers like Reliance. In addition to the retail sector, India’s largest government procurement agency, State Trading Corporation, expressed interest in exploring the connections with pulse consumption and human health, said Bacon.

Under “Growing Forward,” governments’ new policy direction for agriculture, Pulse Canada hopes to continue this partnership with the minister’s department. “This mission to India is an example of our strategy in markets around the world: we will build on our success and create new opportunities by focusing on emerging consumer demand and interest in health, nutrition and the environment,” said Bacon.

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