Saskatchewan Pulse Growers optimistic about the future of plant-based proteins
Canadian farmers have been concerned about their crops with the trade dispute between Canada and China over canola.
Doyle Wiebe has been farming land south of Langham, Sask., for about 40 years and is trying to stay calm after China banned importing Canadian canola.
“You focus your attention now on growing as good a crop as we can. It’s always wanting to do that. So our concern that we won’t receive nearly what we have planned for,” he said.
When he mapped out his plan late last year, Wiebe was aiming to sell canola for $10-11 per bushel.
As of Monday, prices were hovering around $9 per bushel.
Despite the slide in prices, Wiebe is slightly optimistic about the future of pulse crops and he also grows yellow peas.
“We’re highly dependent on just a handful of markets like India, China, Turkey – countries like that. We want to have a more diversified market base,” SPG executive director Carl Potts said.
He added the organization is excited for what the future holds and SPG has even created a campaign looking for 25 different uses for pulse crops by the year 2025.
“We’re still at the beginning stages of that, but there are lots of new products being launched and we’re seeing that investment in processing which tells you that there is that end product demand,” Potts said.
A number of companies are investing in processing plant-based proteins across the Prairies.
Verdient Foods opened a facility in Vanscoy two years ago, while a French company is preparing a processing facility in Manitoba.
Even though Wiebe is optimistic, he isn’t ready to make any drastic changes.
“It takes the industry and the food system quite a while to ramp up production, but it’s a trend that will bode well for (the) demand of what we’re best at growing,” he said.