Montana peas and lentils are flowing freely into India again after being bottled up by trade politics.
Columbia Grain reports that storage limits imposed by India officials Oct. 18, have been lifted, enabling warehouses to again stockpile peas, lentils and chickpeas, collectively referred to as pulse crops. Montana is the nation’s largest producer of pulse crops, with nearly 700,000 acres planted and more than $140 million a year sold.
India last month abruptly limited pulse crop storage to 350 metric tons, or 10 farm truck loads. It then proceeded to confiscate warehouse surplus. Pulse crop insiders said that drought wiped out a significant amount of India’s own pulse crop. The government didn’t want prices driven upward by warehouses hoarding pulse crops, which are a food staple for 80 percent of Indians.
Last week, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester joined Republicans Sen. Steve Daines and Ryan Zinke in asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to intervene in the India warehouse issue.
Jeff Van Pevenage, Columbia Grain senior vice president said that pressure on India helped end the warehouse dispute.