The price of pigeon peas continued to decline in the market even as other pulses and beans fetched better prices than last year this harvest season.
“The price of pigeon peas has dropped below the cultivation cost, making it difficult for growers,” said U Sein Lwin, secretary of Pakokku Merchants Association.
In the same period last year, pigeon peas fetched some Ks25,000 per basket, but this year, fresh pigeon peas are fetching only between Ks9,500 and Ks10,000 per basket.
In early January, Magway pigeon peas growers were faced with decreasing yield during the harvest period owing to unseasonal rainfall. Consequently, the pulses produced were of low quality, driving the price down. Some growers do not even harvest them, as production cannot cover the labour wages.
“Untimely rain results in low yield during harvest time. Pigeon pea growers have been battered by the drastic plunge in pigeon pea prices, which is not enough to cover the cultivation cost,” said U Than Tun Aung, a grower from Meethwaykan Village, Pakokku District, Magway Region.
It costs Ks8,500 to Ks9,000 to produce a basket of pigeon peas, including labour charges for the drying and harvesting process.
“The pulses market seems to have come to a halt. Growers and merchants are holding on to the stocks of pulses. It is rare to see a transaction in the market,” said U Sein Lwin. The majority of growers cultivate pigeon peas depending on the demand from India.
Nevertheless, the restriction on the importation of pulses by India since April last year will be in effect, as of the end of this month. Therefore, the prices of pigeon peas have drastically plunged.
To tide over such disastrous consequences, the Commerce Ministry will buy the pigeon peas with an allocated fund of Ks15 billion if the prevailing price is lower than the ministry’s prescribed cultivation cost, said Union Minister Dr Than Myint of the Commerce Ministry.
However, the Commerce Ministry has not bought the pulses yet, as the cultivation cost has been set at Ks8,000 per basket. This year, the production of fresh pulses and beans such as butter beans, velvet beans (Sultani), lentils and lablab beans are higher than that of last year.
The prices of pulses have increased by 15 to 40 per cent against last year, said U Sein Lwin, secretary of Pakokku Merchants Association. Butter beans fetch Ks32,000 per basket, which is up from Ks25,000 last year. Similarly, other pulses also saw an increase by Ks5,000 to Ks8,000 per basket compared with last year.
By May Thet Hnin