PERHAPS as much as 150,000 tonnes of Australia’s forecast 1.2 million-tonne desi chickpea crop will be shipped on the five bulk-cargo vessels booked to load out of Queensland’s ports this month and next.
A further two-thirds of the total crop can be expected to be processed and exported in containers from east coast Australian container ports in 2016/17.
Container packers are starting to become active in Brisbane and on the Darling Downs to fulfil shipping commitments for containerised chickpeas.
Over the period of the southerly progression of harvest, container packers in south-east Queensland, in NSW along the length of the Newell Highway and through Victoria to Melbourne will be packing chickpeas bulk in containers for export in 2017.
Splitting plants, processing whole desi chickpea into chana dahl, are a small but significant value-adding component of the trade. In the eastern states this sector accounts for about 5000 tonnes per month of whole chickpea.
With the 2016 chickpea harvest underway in Central Queensland, pulse trader at Nidera, Rob Brealey, said supply and demand would be fairly balanced.
“The chickpeas from Australia’s crop will see demand spread through next year,” he said.
The next peak demand, other than ongoing weekly trade, will be for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr (the festival of breaking fast) and will be shipped to some ports in the sub-continent and the Middle East.
“Traders may begin to buy for this demand in late February and March,” Mr Brealey said.