INDIA has switched its import policy on yellow peas from “free” to “restricted”, effectively placing a temporary ban on fresh arrivals of peas typically sold by Canada to India.
Imports of yellow peas, botanical name Pisum sativum, have been restricted for a period that commenced on April 1 and will end on June 30.
The move is a significant blow for exporters, particularly Canadian pea traders who rely heavily on open trade with India. The equivalent three-month period in recent years has accounted for about 750,000 tonnes of Canada’s yellow pea exports.
Flexibility some relief
On this occasion, in implementing government policy, India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade, introduced some flexibility to the method in which the procedure was implemented.
It provided provision for importation of some peas during the period of the ban, if the transaction and certain payment provisions had been registered with an authority in India.
It would be a welcome concession to trade representations by Australians and Canadians following chaos caused previously by bans on pulse imports.
Australian Kaspa hopeful
Australia’s pea trade with India, of the type affected by this restriction, is small-ish volume and relatively high-value.
Traders said the outlook for Kaspa, a cultivar of dun-type pea, was uncertain as a result of the Indian government order.
They were hopeful negotiations with India might allow flexibility to allow a small quota of imports for the small volume of relatively high-value specialty trade in Kaspa peas into specific markets in the south of India.
Some leniency would allow importers to manage supplies of imports along with existing stock of Kaspa peas to get them through the ban period.
Kaspa peas have a very specific and inelastic demand in southern India.