Irregular pulse: bean market seesaws in 2013

It has been a surprising year for Mandalay’s beans and pulses market as some usually popular varieties are being sold at less profit than anticipated, while others have recorded unexpected price rises thanks to climate change-related declines in yield.

The most noticeable surge in demand this year is for myae-htauk-pae (kidney beans), the price of which rose as much as 52.77 percent this year up to K110,000 per bag [each bag weighs 48 kilograms or 108 pounds], said a member of the information team at Mandalay Wholesale Centre.

“It opened at K72,000 a bag in mid-January and rose to … a record K110,000 at the end of the season,” said one Mandalay trader, who asked not to be named. “We still receive orders, but the supply is short.”

“Its regular buyers are from India and Pakistan, but this year we have also received demand from China,” he said, adding that the price for kidney beans peaked out at K98,000 about 10 years ago before remaining steady at about K70,000 in later years.

“This year’s peak was unexpected,” he said.

Green gram or green mung bean prices, meanwhile, have grown 27.77pc to K92,000 after prices dropped as low as K70,000 per bag in January.

“Green gram was in demand the whole season, though it fluctuated in price,” said U Khin Htay, owner of Bawga Wholesale, adding the bean is harvested in early May.

“Though we can’t say the price will reach K100,000 [per bag], it is still climbing. We haven’t seen such prices for green mung bean before,” he said. “The previous high was K94,000 in May last year.”

Buyers from Pakistan and India have also come forward this year, but it is hard to predict prices for next year, he said.

However, other varieties of beans have suffered due to bad weather and production of more popular types, such as myae-htauk-pae, declined by 40pc because of earthquake activity.

The drop in production comes amid rising export demand that drove the price upwards, traders have said.

With specialty bean prices up, prices for other types have either remained constant or fallen, traders said.

The price of pigeon peas, which are used in several local and Indian dishes, has fallen 22.72pc to K51,000 per bag after reaching a high of K66,000 per bag in March, said U Maung Htay.

Chickpea prices, which peaked above K70,000 a bag in 2012, have dropped this year to between K46,000 and K49,000, said a source at the Mandalay Wholesale Centre.

Source: Myanmar Times

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