by Christian Berechree
THE leader of one of Australia's largest pulse processors has urged long term thinking when it comes to export tariffs on chickpeas.
Bean Growers Australia chief executive officer Lloyd Nielsen said the new 30 per cent tariff on chickpeas exported to India would have a short to medium term impact.
"The bottom line is, within about 12 months, India will be become the most populous nation on earth," Mr Nielsen said.
"There'll be strong demand for Australian pulses."
Mr Nielsen said while it was disappointing to see trade agreements changed without notice, things would turn in Australian farmers' favour again before long.
He said Indian farmers were just as much at the mercy of the weather as Australian producers.
"It's a bit of a case of being patient with the market," Mr Nielsen said.
"The market will dictate, without a doubt, as soon as there's a production issue somewhere, the Indian government will change. As soon as they have an El Nino, they'll be screaming for product."
Mr Nielsen said the newly introduced chickpea tariff came off the back of a number of other export restrictions on pulses such as mung beans.
"Chickpeas have been the last one to be affected. Back in August, they put a quota on green and black mung beans. Their quota stopped any export of green and black mung beans into India," Mr Nielsen said.
He said two consecutive strong seasons had allowed Indian consumers to rely on domestically grown pulses, a traditional staple of the Indian diet.
"Winter and summer seasons for 2016-17 were excellent. They produced enough to fill in the gaps that'd normally be filled by exporting," Mr Nielsen said.
Mr Nielsen said about 22million tonnes of chickpeas had been produced in India over the past two years, while around 6 to 7million tonnes had been imported.
He said the new tariff was unlikely to significantly impact South Burnett farmers, as the desi chickpea, which is more popular in Indian markets, is not commonly grown here.
He estimated the tariff had knocked about $100 per tonne off the price of chickpeas in the Australian export market.