Chickpea producers are overdue for a turnaround

Spring is here and that means farmers are hitting the fields for another planting season. For pulse growers, record production these past few years has taken its toll on chickpeas prices; however, 2021 could be a better year for farmers.

Farmers are gearing up for another planting season and for pulse growers the outlook for chickpeas could be a little better here in 2021 than what we have seen the past couple of years.

Tony Roelofs is Vice President of the Columbia Grain International Pulse Division and says that the turnaround is long overdue.

“We’re seeing the outlook on chickpeas really start to turn around and improve. We’ve been through about two to three years now of high stocks, high supplies, and low prices,” Roelofs explains. “As a result, for these last three years, we’ve seen planted acres around the world continue to decrease, and this year, we’re finally starting to see the chickpea market turn around as we work through a number of these high stocks and are starting to get in a much lower supply environment. We’re starting to see demand pick up a little bit. So overall, we’re really starting to see the outlook for chickpeas and the chickpea market in general really turn around in the last few months here.”

He says that when it comes to agronomics, chickpeas are a great rotational option, especially in drier areas.

“Chickpeas tend to be a pulse crop that do a little better in dry weather compared to other choices,” she explains. “They have a long taproot, which allows them access to water in drier conditions. So, if we’re looking at a year with a little drier, drier weather forecast, the chickpea might be a crop that might do a little bit better than other pulse crops in these types of conditions.”

He says that Columbia Grain is ready to help farmers grow and deliver these high-quality pulses, like chickpeas, to consumers here in the United States and around the world.

“Columbia Grain remains very interested in the growth of the U.S. pulse industry. We continue to see demand grow more and more every year for these products. Specifically, we see the demand grow for these high-quality finished products. That’s where we’re really seeing the growth at. As a result, we continue to try to invest in new plants, new equipment, and new ways to continue to allow U.S. processors and U.S. farmers to take advantage of these very high-quality markets to try to get the best prices available for their products,” he adds.

As for overall pulse production, Montana and North Dakota continue to lead the entire nation.