(Adds details, CEO and Canadian government comments)
By Rod Nickel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 28 Canada's AGT Food
and Ingredients Inc, one of the world's biggest
exporters of peas and lentils, expects India to extend an
exemption for Canada within days from a crop fumigation policy
that threatened to jeopardize C$1.1 billion ($823 million) in
annual trade of the food staples, Chief Executive Murad Al-Katib
said on Tuesday.
India's current exemption for Canada from its requirement
that pulse crops be fumigated in the country of origin with
methyl bromide, an insect-killing gas, was due to expire on
But Al-Katib told Reuters that multiple sources in India
have assured him a three- or six-month extension of the
exemption for Canada was imminent, although no official
announcement has been made.
A delegation from the Canadian government and pulse industry
visited India earlier this month, and made a case that Canada's
cold winter weather was enough to eliminate India's particular
"Minus-40 (degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit) is a very effective
way to fumigate," Al-Katib said. "It's a very positive signal
that the Indian government is recognising that they need more
time to evaluate a science-based approach" to pest control.
Oliver Anderson, a spokesman for Canadian Agriculture
Minister Lawrence MacAulay, said he had nothing new to report on
An exemption would allow Canada to continue shipping pulse
crops to India, where they could be fumigated upon arrival.
Canada is the world's biggest exporter of pulse crops, a
popular protein source in India, the world's largest importer.
Methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting substance, is not made in
Canada, and is allowed for use only in limited situations.
Canadian exporters have said that sales to India dried up in the
past month due to uncertainty.
AGT shares rose 1 percent to C$30.40 in early trade in
Earlier on Tuesday, New Delhi imposed a 10 percent import
tax on wheat, seeking to curb imports at a time when Indian
farmers are starting to harvest crops.
($1 = 1.3367 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by
Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)