Chickpeas. I'm Greg Martin with today's Line On Agriculture.
I have only recently discovered chickpeas or perhaps you know them as garbanzo beans. They are also known as Indian peas and ceci beans plus are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables dating back some 7500 years. There are packed with protein and are great on a salad or ground up to make hummus and new favorite for the Martin's. What most people do not know is that the bulk of the chickpeas are grown right here in the northwest, predominately in Washington and Idaho. Todd Scholz Director of Info & Research for USA Dry Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas.
SCHOLZ: The chickpea is one of our success stories. We went from about 10 to 20-thousand acres a year to 50 to 60-thousand acres a year in the last 5 years and we haven't exported any of those. The export number is pretty much the same volume so that means that expansion was pretty much domestic markets.
The market for chickpeas has remained strong and very consistent.
SCHOLZ: We really are happy because the prices remain the same and that means the demand is strong in spite of the increase in supply so we've been able to use the increase in supply domestically instead of internationally. The advantage of that is when you ship products overseas and depend on international markets then the value of your dollar is quite significant in terms of pricing and so the chickpea is really one of the great success stories of our industry.
In 2009 there were some 65-thousand metric tons of chickpeas harvested and according to NASS projections 2010 should see about 68-thousand metric tons. Scholz says that getting to this point has had some ups and downs though.
SCHOLZ: Dry chickpeas have a success story for our industry because we've taken them from a brand new crop in the 80's, we had a disease that wiped them out in the late 80's and then they had a moratorium on planting them and then we developed a resistance to the disease in the crop and have replanted them and now they're helping out particularly the farmers in Idaho and Washington.
Harvesting chickpeas is a late summer event after the pea has fully matured and dried. But now adding the wrinkle of doing an early harvest for a green chickpea may have more producers looking into the crop.
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.