THE LONGEVITY of a rally in chickpea prices, primarily driven by a surge in demand from Pakistan, now hinges on the prospects of the Indian crop.
Chickpea prices have pushed up $100 a tonne in the past month to sit at around $650/t delivered upcountry along most of the east coast.
It was a welcome return of confidence to the sector, which saw prices dive to as low as $500/t in some instances and general pricing of $550/t on the back of the news of the Indian import tariff of 30 per cent.
Pulse Australia chairman Ron Storey said Pakistan had emerged as a strong buyer in the first weeks of 2018 due to a poor domestic crop.
He said they had also been opportunistic, identifying the current prices on offer as cheap within the overall price cycle of recent years.
“The prices may have rallied but they are still down on where they have been consistently over the past couple of years.”
However, he said while Pakistan was a focus at present, moving forward the perennial key to chickpea pricing, India, would return as the major factor for future price movements.
“The market will still be driven by India, at present people are starting to talk about the Indian season being very dry in parts.
“That could lead to the current tariff being reviewed earlier than expected.”
While there is good news for Australian producers from the subcontinent, Mr Storey said reports from the northern hemisphere press of a chickpea shortage were not accurate in this part of the world.
Mainstream media reports warned British consumers to expect to pay more for the popular dip hummus due to a shortage of chickpeas, however Mr Storey said this was not the case across the globe.
“There may well be localised shortages but there is nothing abnormal on a global scale.”