Increasing demand for mung beans and pigeon peas drives prices up

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The prices of mung beans and pigeon peas are on the higher side on account of the growing demand.
In early May, the Indian government released an official statement allowing for an import quota of 150,000 tonnes of mung beans and green grams each, and 200,000 tonnes of pigeon peas. Indian merchants will import the pulses soon, prompting other buyer countries to increase their demand.
“The Indian government has asked the pulses importers to submit a proposal regarding the import volume of mung beans, pigeon peas and green grams not later than 25 May. On 1 June, they will be granted licences to import pulses. India’s pulses imports will begin in the first week of June. Therefore, other countries such as Pakistan, Nepal and Dubai that import pulses from Myanmar have also increased their demand, concerned over a possible high price. This being so, the growing demand has hiked up the price in the domestic market,” said U Min Ko Oo, secretary of Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association.
The free-on-board prices increased from US$460 to $495 per tonne for mung beans, and $360 to $380 per tonne for pigeon peas. More than 4,000 tonnes of pulses were exported so far.
Mung beans fetched Ks380,000 per tonne in early May, and now, the price has soared to Ks505,000 per tonne. Similarly, the price of pigeon peas increased from Ks350,000 to Ks500,000 per tonne.
Prior to India’s pulses import policy changes, a tonne of mung beans was valued at around Ks900,000 and pigeon peas fetched some Ks800,000 per tonne, said U Min Ko Oo.
At the moment, there are some 100,000 tonnes of mung beans from last year’s stock and 250,000 tonnes of fresh stock. Some 20,000 tonnes of pigeon peas from last year’s production are still in stock, while some 100,000 tonnes of peas were freshly produced this year.
The prices increased after India lifted the ban on pulses importation. Myanmar accounts for 70 per cent of India’s mung beans imports. So, Myanmar does not need to compete with other importer countries to India.
Nevertheless, India buys only 30 per cent of the pigeon peas from Myanmar, leaving the pigeon peas market uncertain. The commerce ministry has already requested growers to not choose pigeon peas in the coming bean season.
“As a substitute for pigeon peas, Shan State growers may choose soybeans, as the oil crop is favoured in central Myanmar. Growers should choose beans that are consumed domestically. Next, corn also has a sizeable market share in the local and export markets,” said U Min Ko OO.
China is the main buyer of green grams. Therefore, Myanmar does not need to be worried about the green gram market when the demand from India goes down. The prevailing price of green grams is on the higher side at Ks1.2 million per tonne.
Various pulses that are exported to other foreign markets are also fetching a good price. Prior to India’s suspension of pulses importation last year, some 1.5 million tonnes of pulses were exported to India per year.

By May Thet Hnin


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