The Cost of Diplomatic Row for Canadian Lentil Farmers

by Manjari Singh

The diplomatic skirmish between India and Canada has ushered in a ripple of financial strain across the verdant farmlands of Canada, notably hitting the lentil producers. The nexus between India, as the globe’s most voracious lentil importer, and Canada, as its chief supplier, has been historically significant. In the preceding year, Canada’s lentil exports to the Indian subcontinent were valued at a whopping CAD $2.3 billion.

However, the onset of diplomatic discord in September 2023 has beleaguered this once-flourishing trade, causing a severe deceleration in India’s import of Canadian lentils. The repercussions have been swift and harsh, with lentil prices in Canada plummeting by 20% as per the metrics provided by the Canadian Lentils Association. This price slump is gnawing at the revenue of Canadian farmers, many of whom are now scrambling to stay afloat in a suddenly turbulent market. The financial quagmire has led some to the desperate measure of offloading their ancestral lands.

The ramifications of this diplomatic fallout extend beyond the lentil fields, casting a long shadow on the broader bilateral trade tableau between India and Canada. India’s shopping list from Canada isn’t confined to lentils; it encompasses a spectrum of agricultural produce ranging from peas, chickpeas, and mustard seeds to wheat. Moreover, the Canadian canola oil industry too finds a significant market in India.

This decline in trade is a double-edged sword, cutting through the financial sinews of both Canadian enterprises and the national exchequer. The dwindling trade is depriving the Canadian government of billions in tax revenue, thereby amplifying the economic distress.

Manjari Singh

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