Pulse crops are vital to Saskatchewan’s agricultural economy. The province is a major global supplier of chickpeas and the world’s leading exporter or lentils.

Despite the land of living sky’s current dominant place in the market, some at the Crop Production Show said there’s rising competition.

Marlene Boersch from Mercantile Consulting Venture said Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan all have the potential to overtake the number one spot.

“They have direct links to Europe both via the Baltic Port and the Black Sea. They’ve got into India for example, through the Suez Canal. The only place where they have a longer route, longer sailing time and higher ocean freight costs is actually into China,” Boersch said.

According to Boersch, Canadian producers still have an edge because of higher yields and lower costs of production, but they’re losing out when it comes to handling and moving their product to the market.

“There’s no single answer,” said Chuck Penner of Leftfield Commodities Research, adding, “The growth in the market is the result of many multiple market initiatives.”

Penner said that producers can look forward to increased sales for pulse crops in the health food market. New research shows that diets that include pulses can help fight heart disease and diabetes. With this in mind, Penner is confident Canadian farmers will continue to be a top global pulse producer.