Canadian farmers planted a wealth of chickpea crops to meet demand.
A metric ton of chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, will probably fetch as much as $980 in the 2018-19 crop year, more than double that of lentils and nearly four times more than dry peas.
A growing appetite for hummus is driving Canada’s farmers to plant the biggest chickpea crop in 11 years.
“All of Canada’s prairie provinces have the right soil and climate to grow pulse products but in Saskatchewan, we grow more than 80% of all Canadian grown chickpeas. To give you an idea of how much that really is, in 2015 alone Canada exported 6 million tons of pulses worth more than $4.2 billion”, said Colin, Dan and Ron, second and third generation farmers who have grown up on this land and are committed to its preservation, proudly numbering the prairies among the best places in the agricultural world.
Farmers are poised to plant 140,000 hectares this season, more than double what was sowed last year, the agriculture ministry said last week in a report. At the same time, they’re reducing the area planted with other so-called pulses, such as peas and lentils, amid steep import tariffs in India, the biggest buyer.
Corey Loessin, chairperson of the board at industry group Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, mentioned that chickpeas are hardy, helping them to survive in the Prairies’ current dry spell.
The rising prices are underpinned by strong demand, driven by the increasing popularity of hummus and other vegetarian staples. Chickpea growers in the U.S. are also poised to plant a record acreage this year as more Americans look to purchase healthier, gluten-free snacks.
“The increasing consumption of hummus has had a big impact,” Loessin said by telephone. “Chickpeas is one of the pulse crops that’s really easy to sell.”