Prairie farmers want Canada's trade dispute with India 'straightened out'
Canadian pulse shipments to India face duties between 30 to 50 per cent
Bill Aulie is trying to keep busy on his farm in Rouleau, Sask., by training horses and bringing equipment in from the cold to warm up in his shop.
As spring draws near, Aulie is thinking ahead to the growing season.
"It just puts a scare," Aulie said. "There's uncertainty."
One third of Aulie's crops are lentils. India has slapped tariffs on pulse imports and he could lose a profit this year if the trade dispute isn't resolved.
Canadian producers are currently facing duties of 33 per cent on lentils, 44 per cent on chickpeas and 50 per cent on peas in India, according to Pulse Canada.
"It just sends a huge ripple effect through the whole industry," Aulie said "If India is doing this, who's going to do what next?"
$1.1 billion industry
"Consider the importance of agriculture in Canada," Aulie said.
"Work hard with our Indian partners over there and see if we can't get this thing straightened out."
Trudeau raised the issue twice on his official visit to India earlier this week. So far, the country has not lifted levies on Canadian pulse imports.
"This is something very significant and very concerning," said Francois-Phillippe Champagne, federal Minister of International Trade.
"This is top on our agenda for all of us. We are working diligently."
'Need to look at a science-based solution'
Champagne has been meeting with Indian officials to resolve the issue.
"We need to look at science-based solution," Champagne said.
"We're quite happy to contribute to food security in India, but we need stability and predictability."
If Aulie swaps seeds this year, he said he will have to find half a million dollars worth of input to go in the ground. He said he still plans to grow lentils in the hopes that confidence returns,
"When all of a sudden the market's not there, we got to go searching for seed for another product," Aulie said.
"It's not easy to find because there's going to be a lot of farmers in the same boat."