Myanmar merchants to buy pulses at reasonable rate if prices drop during harvest

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

The Myanmar Pulses, Beans, and Sesame Seeds Merchants’ Association is preparing to purchase pulses at a reasonable rate, if the price drops drastically during harvest time.
Mung beans, pigeon peas, and green grams are harvested in the months of March and April. Their harvest time is approaching, and India has not yet responded to a plan for purchase of pulses under a government-to-government agreement, prompting the related authorities and merchants to prepare for necessary measures to protect growers’ interests.
“Pulses depots, the Commerce Ministry, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation are working out plans to tackle with possible problems. In addition to a quota system, the government will try to provide loans to SMEs, and merchants, in turn, are preparing to purchase pulses at a reasonable rate, if the prices of beans plunge to a great extent,” said U Min Ko Oo, the secretary of the Myanmar Pulses, Beans, and Sesame Seeds Merchants’ Association.
“At present, only a small volume of mung beans and pigeon peas are stockpiled in the pulses market. Additionally, the number of pigeon peas growers has decreased this year. This being so, we do not have concerns over pigeon peas, even if India does not purchase them. But, most growers have cultivated mung beans. Therefore, the Myanmar pulses association is preparing to purchase them at a fair price, in case the price plummets,” said U Min Ko Oo.
“Only small stocks of pigeon peas are left in the domestic market, and only 400,000-500,000 tons of pigeon peas are likely to be produced in the coming season. India’s ban on pulses importation will not affect the pigeon peas market, as we can export them to other foreign markets. The prevailing price of pigeon peas is K830,000 per ton. Mung beans are priced just above K600,000 per ton. As 80 per cent of mung bean growers have cultivated mung beans, so, over 400,000 tons is likely to be produced. During the upcoming harvest time, we need to prepare only for mung beans,” he said.
Moreover, Myanmar will demand India increase the quota limit for imports, and will work towards creating a G-to-G agreement for the pulses industry, according to the association.
“The Commerce Ministry sent a draft G-to-G agreement to India through the Indian embassy in Myanmar two months ago, but there has been no response yet. If they allow their merchants to resume pulses importation under the quota limit, we need to request them to set a separate quota limit. Concerning this matter, the Union Minister for Commerce will visit India and meet with the related department officials. He will try to strengthen economic ties between the two countries,” said U Min Ko Oo. India’s move to restrict importation of pulses in August 2017 has severely affected growers in Myanmar. Following the Indian provincial court’s notice halting the importation of pulses and beans on 30 January, the prices of mung beans and pigeon peas dropped.
There is demand from Nepal and Pakistan in the market, and mung beans are fetching K620,000 per ton for old stock and K632,000 per ton for fresh stock, while pigeon peas are priced at K710,000 for old stock, and K830,000 for new stock, according to traders in the pulses market.
In 2017, local merchants united to purchase mung beans and pigeon peas after India restricted pulses importation, said U Min Ko Oo.
Myanmar ships over 1 million tons of different varieties of pulses to other countries annually, and mung beans, green grams, and pigeon peas make up a majority of the exports.

—Nyein Nyein 
(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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