Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
Back to Email

Canada - Global Pulse Powerhouse

Pulse production in Canada has grown by more than 500% in the last 20 years, from less than 1 million tonnes in 1990 to over 5 million tonnes in 2010. Today Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of peas and lentils and an important producer of dry beans and chickpeas. Canada is home to world class crop development programs that have created pulse varieties adapted for our climate with high quality agronomic traits as well as end-user quality attributes such as taste, colour and shape.

Canada produces yellow and green field peas, green and red lentils, kabuli and desi chickpeas as well as several types of beans including navy, pinto, black, kidney, cranberry and small red beans.

Canada exports pulses to over 150 countries around the world and accounts for approximately 40% of global pulse exports each year.
Pulse production is concentrated in Saskatchewan (67%), followed by Alberta (20%), Manitoba (10%) and Ontario (3%). Saskatchewan produces almost all of Canada’s lentils and chickpeas and a significant quantity of peas, while Alberta grows significant quantities of peas and beans. Manitoba and Ontario are primarily bean producers.

Most of Canada’s production is exported with less than 10% consumed domestically. On average, Canadians consume about ½ cup of pulses per week, or about 4 kilograms per person per year. However, there is wide variability among consumers with some people consuming pulses on a near daily basis while others rarely include pulses in their diet. Canadians with ethnic origins from countries where pulses are consumed regularly tend to be higher consumers (e.g. South Asia, Latin America) as do people with certain dietary interests such as vegetarians. But increasingly, pulses are being enjoyed by Canadians of all backgrounds due to their culinary versatility, their nutritional benefits and other attributes such as cost and environmental sustainability. As crops that pull nitrogen from the air and transfer it to the soil, pulses reduce renewable energy requirements of a crop rotation and can therefore lower the carbon footprint of Canadian cropping systems.