Re­gional de­mand for Myan­mar beans off­sets In­dian re­stric­tions

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com Busi­ness 12

AL­THOUGH In­dia has im­posed im­port re­stric­tions on mung beans and pi­geon peas from Myan­mar, China and other neigh­bour­ing coun­tries are still pur­chas­ing lo­cally pro­duced pulses and beans, re­sult­ing in tens of thou­sands of tonnes be­ing ex­ported weekly, said U Khin Maung Lwin, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of the Min­istry of Com­merce.

“Around 2,500 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes of pi­geon peas are still be­ing ex­ported af­ter the In­dian re­stric­tions. Mung beans are still ex­ported in tens of thou­sands of tonnes weekly. On a monthly ba­sis, the amount of bean ex­ports is be­tween 40,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes,” he told The Myan­mar Times Wed­nes­day. The beans are ex­ported via sea routes to coun­tries such as Pak­istan and Nepal.

No­tably, de­mand from China has risen of late. “China does not nor­mally buy mung beans from Myan­mar. Now though, it is im­port­ing around 100 tonnes weekly,” said U Khin Maung Lwin.

“So al­though our big­gest pulse and beans mar­ket, In­dia, has re­stricted im­ports, we’re still ex­port­ing to other mar­kets,” he added.

As a re­sult, the prices of mung beans and pi­geon peas have in­creased slightly, said U Min Ko Oo, sec­re­tary of the Myan­mar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Mer­chants As­so­ci­a­tion.

The price of mung bean in­creased from K425,000 in Oc­to­ber to K490,000 a tonne cur­rently. Mean­while, pi­geon peas rose from K310,000 to K335,000 a tonne over the same pe­riod.

In an at­tempt to con­trol the pea prices, mer­chants united to form a com­mit­tee and launched an in­vest­ment fund of K50 bil­lion to pur­chase the pulses. Start­ing from Oc­to­ber, more than 3,800 tonnes of mung beans and about 10,000 tonnes of pi­geon peas have been pur­chased so far, said U Min Ko Oo.

How­ever, there are still an ex­ist­ing over­sup­ply amount­ing to 70,000 tonnes of pi­geon peas and nearly 200,000 tonnes of mung beans stock­piled in ware­houses.

Nev­er­the­less, the prices are still a far cry from be­fore. Fol­low­ing In­dia’s im­port re­stric­tions on lo­cal pulses in Au­gust, a tonne of pi­geon peas fetched up to K650,000, while a tonne of mung beans fetched K800,000 per tonne.

As such, at­tempts are be­ing made with the In­dian gov­ern­ment so that sales can be made un­der a G2G [gov­ern­ment-to-gov­ern­ment] ar­range­ment.

To fa­cil­i­tate the ar­range­ment, Myan­mar has al­ready formed a ne­go­ti­a­tion group in­clud­ing the pri­vate sec­tor and the gov­ern­ment and has re­quested In­dia to form a sim­i­lar group. “They’ve gen­er­ally agreed to form this kind of group. But, we’ll have to dis­cuss the de­tails. Ne­go­ti­a­tions will be car­ried out un­til it’s fa­vor­able for both sides,” he said.

The ar­range­ments are tak­ing place as In­dia no longer wishes to trade on a con­tracted ba­sis with the pri­vate sec­tor like be­fore. Now, the coun­try wants to sign a bi­lat­eral trade agree­ment with the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment.

A lo­cal bean and pulse ven­dor in Yan­gon. De­mand from other mar­kets has risen, off­set­ting im­port re­stric­tions from In­dia. Photo: Zarni Phyo

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