Indian import quotas plunges Myanmar’s pulses industry into chaos

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Myanmar pulses are kept on display for sale in a shop at a market.  Photo: Zaw Min Latt

Bayintnaung commodity depot has ceased operations due to India’s import quota on pulses, prompting pulses prices to plummet and Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce to call for a trade meeting between the two nations.
In early August, India announced a 200,000-ton import quota on pigeon peas and 300,000-ton quota on mung bean and green grams.
Myanmar and India will discuss India’s import quota during a trade meeting on 25 August in Nay Pyi Taw, said U Sai Ba Nyan, the vice chairman of Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association.
Myanmar exports around 1.5 million tons of pulses to the foreign countries a year. India is one of Myanmar’s largest pulses export markets.
The depots were closed in order to stabilize the pulses market, said U Sai Ba Nyan. But many sellers are still concerned that they may not have an outlet for their commodities.
Pulses prices dropped by as much as half their value after the suspension of depot. Pigeon peas prices plunged from Ks28,000 to Ks14,200 per basket. Mung bean prices dropped from Ks27,500 to Ks14,500 a basket. Green grams fell from Ks35,000 to Ks28,000 per basket.
U Sai Ba Nyan said he suspects Indian pulses middlemen based in Singapore are attempting to manipulate the pulses market by blocking Myanmar commodities. The Indian government has recently embarked on a plan to increase domestic production of pulses for its massive population and protectionist quotas are intended to incentivize local Indian growers.
In Myanmar, surplus pulses are being stockpiled. Meanwhile, farmers in Ayeyawady, Bago and Yangon regions are looking ahead to the October pigeon pea harvest with concern.
“We have nothing to blame for this situation, except our sole reliance on India’s market,” said U Zaw Khin, a pulse growers from Shwebo District, Sagaing Region. “New pulses markets should have been explored. Besides, the government and brokers cannot distribute sufficient supply of pedigree pulses which meet international criteria.
Therefore, we farmers would like to request the government officials to discuss this problem too.”


May Thet Hnin


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