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Eleventh meeting of the Pulse Industry Roundtable: Record of decision

January 23, 2018 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Key decision points

  • Pulse Canada presented an overview of its five-year strategic plan and research strategy, consulting with PIRT on the approach.
  • Updates were provided on key policy initiatives, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) programming and research strategy for pulses.
  • Discussed ongoing trade issues, including India market access and the importance of acceptance and regulation surrounding plant breeding innovation.
  • Discussed next steps on a red lentil benchmarking study and a grading system review.

A full list of Action Items can be found in Annex A.

Opening remarks

  • Co-chairs welcomed members, observers, as well as two youth representatives, Megz Reynolds and Hailey Jefferies.

Federal Government updates

  • The Government Co-chair provided updates on key federal policy initiatives, including:
    • the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP)
    • A Food Policy for Canada
    • Healthy Eating Strategy
    • C-45: the Cannabis Act

Industry members were interested in knowing when the application window for the AgriMarketing Program would start, and what its service standards will be. They also emphasized the importance of a seamless transition from Growing Forward 2 to CAP.

Growing Canada's economy — Economic Strategy Tables

  • An overview of the Government of Canada's Economic Strategy Table — including specific roles for the Agri-Food Strategy Table — was provided. PIRT members were given five guiding questions and engaged on a discussion around the challenges and opportunities facing the agri-food sector. The next meeting for the Economic Strategy Table will take place on April 5, 2018 and PIRT members will have additional opportunities to provide input.

The industry and government co-chairs agreed to share PIRT input at upcoming Economic Strategy Table meetings as well as the All Chairs meeting on April 27, 2018.

Public trust

  • The National Manager of the Public Trust Steering Committee provided a brief update on the work to date as well as a proposed funding model. Through the value chain roundtables, the National Manager has met with many of the industry groups and she will be presenting the public trust strategic plan later in 2018.

Research and development

  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) provided an overview of its supercluster initiative and highlighted the importance of being responsive to industry and creating collaboration within the agri-food sector.
  • Saskatchewan Pulse Growers shared details about the sector's pulse research cluster application, which is valued at $24-million. Key goals in this application include:
    • increasing pulse yields by 20 percent by 2027
    • increasing the utilization of pulses
    • having a pulse crop option for every arable acre by 2027
  • AAFC's Pulse Science Strategy was presented. The goal of this science strategy is to enhance sector competitiveness and position Canada as a global leader in pulse production. It identifies areas to conduct research and technology transfer within AAFC's Science and Technology Branch, and it will also provide linkages to other science sector strategies. Crops included in this scope of research are dry peas, lentils, dry beans and chickpeas for food, feed forage and industrial uses.

    Industry members noted that research activities remain a core priority for all segments of the sector in order to remain competitive with countries such as such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Russia.

  • AAFC provided an overview of the organic sector and highlighted:
    • key trends globally
    • organic trends for pulses
    • statistics related to the organic pulse sector
    • opportunities and challenges

The presentation was timely given the increased demand for organic pulses, and the recent investments in grain handling and pulse processing. Currently, there is a significant shortfall of organic pulse production to meet the demand that has been created by new investments.

Precision agriculture

  • AAFC's presentation on Precision Agriculture (PA) provided an analysis of the benefits and barriers of PA in Canada. Respondents to the study saw great value of PA because there were reduced input costs, increased yields and considered it an important tool in the future. Barriers to the adoption of PA included a high cost of initial investment, inconsistent internet coverage/cellular data coverage, and lack of training/knowledge. According to this study, adoption rates were influenced by regional differences as well as farm size, farm revenue and age of users.

Red lentils

  • In winter 2017, AAFC tendered a contract for a Red Lentil Benchmarking Study which will measure the performance of Canadian red lentil exports in key markets. Proposals were submitted in early January 2018 and it is expected the project will be completed in spring 2018. The study will be shared with PIRT members when completed.

Industry members discussed ongoing concerns from international buyers and processors about Canadian red lentil quality and challenges related to grading.

Markets and trade

  • PIRT members were provided with an update by AAFC on a variety of trade negotiations, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and current issues in India, Pakistan and China. Fumigation and tariff issues remain key priorities in India, given that Canada exports two million metric tonnes to that market. At a recent trade mission to India, Pulse Canada noted a distinct change in direction in domestic policy and there is a push for Indian farmers to move towards self-sufficiency.
  • PIRT members were given an update on Decree 177 in China and other phytosanitary issues impacting the pulse sector. It was noted that China is prepared to put peas on the exempt list for Decree 177. In addition, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responding to the questionnaire that was circulated from China. Concern was raised regarding pea access to China.

Pulse Canada strategic plan

  • Pulse Canada presented its five-year strategic plan and there is an ambitious goal to generate new markets or uses for 25 percent of Canadian production by 2015. A variety of activities were listed including:
    • targeting food industry engagement
    • positioning pulses to consumers
    • engaging with livestock, aquaculture and pet food sectors
    • accelerating priority research
    • positioning Canada as a leader in addressing health and sustainability challenges

Plant breeding innovations

  • Canada Grains Council (CGC) gave a presentation on Plant Breeding Innovation (PBI) and explained how PBI will affect global trade and regulatory directions. While many countries are considering how PBI should be regulated and international alignment is emerging, CGC noted that many countries are still going in different directions. PIRT members were encouraged to review CGC's policy paper (PDF).

Pulse processor and food manufacturer research priorities

  • Pulse Canada made a presentation on the stakeholder feedback on the value of different market development activities led by pulse industry associations. The results were well received by members.

Closing remarks

  • The two youth participants noted that they benefitted from attending the roundtable meeting as they had an opportunity to network as well as see the broader pulse sector priorities and challenges.
  • Action items are listed in Annex A and the participant list is Annex B.
  • The next PIRT meeting is scheduled for January 24, 2019 in Winnipeg.

Annex A: Action items

Meeting / item number Action items Responsibility Next steps / timelines
11-1 AAFC to address EST request to capture pulse sector opportunities and challenges over the next 5-10 years using provided themes and guiding questions. A collection process will be developed with feedback due back to AAFC by April 5, 2018. AAFC Completed
11-2 AAFC to provide additional clarity on the timing and process related to the launch of new CAP programs. AAFC Completed
11-3 AAFC to circulate a suite of tools related to Public Trust. Encourage greater pulse sector engagement with the Public Trust Steering Committee. AAFC
11-4 PIRT to ensure there is collaboration across research activities that are tied to pre-competitive and proprietary research. Industry

Annex B: Participants


  • Lee Moats, Pulse Producer
  • Beth MacNeil, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Industry members

  • Leanne Fischbuch, Alberta Pulse Growers (APG)
  • Blair Roth, Viterra
  • Gordon Bacon, Pulse Canada
  • Gord Kurbis, Pulse Canada
  • Jackie Carleton, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG)
  • Francois Labelle, Manitoba Pulse Growers
  • Martin Chidwick, Agrimonde Pulses Inc.
  • Jennifer Mitchell, Ontario Bean Growers
  • Rick Green, POS Bio-Sciences
  • Robert Tyler, University of Saskatchewan
  • Heather Hill, Canadian International Grains Institute

Industry observers

  • Carl Potts, SPG
  • Lisette Mascarenhas, SPG (by phone)
  • Myrna Grahn, Public Trust Steering Committee
  • Jenn Walker, Alberta Pulse Growers
  • Debra McLennan, Alberta Pulse Growers
  • Caroline Sekulik, Alberta Pulse Growers
  • Jackie Tenuta, Pulse Canada
  • Mac Ross, Pulse Canada

Provincial members

  • Hugh Berges, Ontario
  • Mark Olson, Alberta (by phone)
  • Dale Risula, Saskatchewan (by phone)
  • Dennis Lange, Manitoba (by phone)

Youth Representatives

  • Hailey Jefferies
  • Megz Reynolds

Federal members

  • Gino Castonguay, Canada Grain Commission (CGC)
  • Ning Wang, CGC
  • Melonie Stoughton, CGC
  • Sonya Agbessi, Health Canada (by phone)
  • Darlene Blair, CFIA
  • Billy Williams, CFIA

Federal support

  • Ken Hester, AAFC
  • Christine Moses, AAFC
  • Jarett Goodwin, AAFC
  • Monique Heise, AAFC

Federal government observers

  • Pierre Cormier, AAFC
  • Alex Campbell, AAFC

Guest speakers

  • Julianne Curran, Pulse Canada
  • Denis Tremorin – Pulse Canada
  • Adam Cull, AAFC
  • Doug Forsyth, AAFC (by phone)
  • Dave MacDonald, AAFC (by phone)
  • Peter Neufeld, AAFC (by phone)
  • Johanne Kristjanson, AAFC
  • Joyce Boye, AAFC
  • Jennifer Miller, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)
  • Krista Thomas, Canada Grains Council
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