The past, present, and future of pulse crops in Saskatchewan
Pulse crop production in Saskatchewan has increased from about 10,000 ha of pea in 1968 to 322,000 ha in 1992, consisting of 190,000 ha lentil, 130,000 ha pea, 900 ha dry bean, 800 ha faba bean and 200 ha chickpea. Furthermore, peas should increase to 160,000 ha in 1993 and total pulse crop production should exceed 400,000 ha by the year 2000. Pulse crop production embodies all the priority attributes promoted by various levels of government: crop diversification, value added processing (200 cleaning, bagging and pea splitting operations in western Canada), new industries (the new legume inoculant industry started in 1987) and increased sustainability of our soils (N2 fixation and reduced fallowing). This increased production traces back to 1976 when the Saskatchewan Pulse Crop Growers Association (SPCGA) was organized. In 1985 this group reorganized into the Saskatchewan Pulse Crop Development Board and was empowered to collect a mandatory levy of 0.5% on initial sales of Saskatchewan-grown pulse crops. This levy was partially matched by the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund and Agriculture Canada. This money is used by the SPCDB to fund pulse crop research and market development. Research is expensive, but it is an investment in the future and required to make Saskatchewan farmers more competitive globally.
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