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Australian Chickpea Prices Soar as India Suspends Import Tariffs

Australian chickpea prices have surged following India's decision to suspend import tariffs on the legume, opening up a significant market opportunity for Australian growers and exporters, according to a report by Reuters.

India, the world's largest consumer of chickpeas, announced the tariff suspension on May 4th in response to a poor domestic harvest. This move has paved the way for a revival of the once-thriving chickpea trade between Australia and India, which had been severely impacted by import tariffs imposed in 2017.

"Australian exporters will be immediately positioning product for Indian ports," Peter Wilson, chair of Grain Australia's pulse council, told Reuters.

Australian desi chickpea prices have risen sharply in anticipation of increased demand from India. Prices, which were around A$810 ($535) per ton in February, have climbed to over A$1,150 per ton following the tariff suspension announcement.

"Australian desi chickpea prices rose from around A$810 ($535) a ton in February to more than A$900 last week in anticipation of the tariff decision," the Reuters report states. "After the announcement, prices were as high as A$1,150 a ton, a trader said."

The tariff suspension is expected to encourage Australian farmers to plant more chickpeas in the coming months, boosting overall production and export volumes. Australia, the world's largest exporter of chickpeas, has historically sent a significant portion of its desi chickpea exports to India.

Industry experts anticipate that India could once again become a major destination for Australian chickpeas, potentially taking up to 60% of the market share during the tariff suspension period.