Myanmar pulses market examined

The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Commerce said that several strategies are being explored
to restore the stability of Myanmar’s pulses market.

The Myanmar pulses market was sent into disarray last month when India, the largest buyer, put severe restrictions on imported pulses in an attempt to protect the price of their own supply market.

At a special co-ordination meeting held at the UMFCCI yesterday, U Toe Aung Myint said his ministry is examining ways to expand and re-classify Myanmar’s pulses destined for export.

“So as to solve the present problems, many ways will be sought. Markets for mung bean and toor whole are presently narrow. Previously, mung beans were exported to India and the Middle East as FAQ, without classifying as special quality. Now that classification has been made, bilateral negotiations were held and the other side had to make concessions. In the future, by classifying as special quality, pulses will be exported so that foreign markets can be sought more than ever.”

In addition, acquisition of investment and technical aid will be sought out so as to be able to diversify and export products to foreign markets, after producing agricultural produce as high-value products.

“Since last year, changes of the pulse’s prices were warning us as if tolling a bell to amend the narrow markets for Myanmar’s pulses. Necessary arrangements will be made in consultation with authorities concerned to grow other pulses and crops, in substitution, which can gain market shares in the global market, instead of mung beans and toor whole,” the permanent secretary said.

In spite of the recent restriction of pulses by the government of India, the amount of pulses to be exported to India was re-granted as agreed upon in the contract signed after giving advance payment, under the bilateral negotiation. The statement informing the re-granting of the imports as previously agreed was issued via the Embassy of India in Myanmar on 30 August, it was learnt. But the damage to the Myanmar market was done, and exposed the weaknesses of the pulses market.

“(The industry) needs to produce high-price products concerning pulses and to grow substitute crops. Moreover, it is necessary for farmers to be resilient as well as to grow other crops which can gain market shares instead of pulses,” said Dr. Ye Tin Tun, Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. As regards the future export of pulses, arrangements will be made with a view to signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar, it has been learnt. And, for the stability of the local market over the pulses left to be exported, the government, private sector and farmers will cooperate and determine appropriate ways and means of effectively dealing with surplus pulses.

U Tun Lwin, chairman of Myanmar pulses and sesame merchants’ federation said that they are making efforts for the market stability. For farmers not to suffer losses for toor whole that will be harvested very soon, preparations are being made under the law on protection of farmers’ rights and upgrading their benefits.

In Myanmar, there are 2.6 million acres of mung beans. The price for one ton was Ks1 million in April, but the current price is Ks0.59 million.

Myanmar is mostly exporting its mung bean and green gram to India and China, with lesser amounts being exported to the EU and the Middle East.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar exported 1,398.905 metric tons of pulses to foreign countries — 672.289 metric tons of mung beans, 349.802 metric tons of green gram and 159.788 metric tons of toor whole in the FY 2016-2017. Until 11 August of the present fiscal year, 517.752 metric tons of pulses — 215.188 metric tons of mung bean, 147.598 metric tons of green gram and 75 metric tons of toor whole — were exported.

Source:The Global New Light of Myanmar