Myan­mar strug­gling to meet bean ship­ping tar­get to In­dia

The Myanmar Times - - Business - CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­ – Trans­la­tion by Emoon.

THEY said it would never hap­pen, but Myan­mar may be in dan­ger of run­ning out of beans.

Thanks to strong de­mand from In­dia, lo­cal farm­ers are hav­ing to scrape to­gether ev­ery last bean they can find for ex­port.

Myan­mar, the world’s sec­ond­largest bean pro­ducer af­ter Canada, has been strug­gling to meet an ex­port or­der now edg­ing to­ward a bil­lion tonnes of beans since its gi­ant, and hun­gry, neigh­bour to the west said it wanted to im­port a to­tal of 900,000 tonnes.

U Khin Maung Lwin, assistant sec­re­tary for the Min­istry of Com­merce, said dis­cus­sions were pro­ceed­ing with In­dia, which wanted to amend an ex­ist­ing mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing to in­crease its im­ports. While Myan700,000 mar was ready to ex­port 600,000 or tonnes of mung bean and green gram, it can meet the de­mand for an ex­tra 200,000 tonnes only by throw­ing in pi­geon peas as well.

“They want mung and green gram. We al­ready sell 600,000 or 700,000 tonnes to In­dia of those two types, but we don’t have enough to meet an or­der for 900,000 tonnes. We might be able to make it if we add pi­geon peas. Our depart­ment is ne­go­ti­at­ing this,” he said.

This will put paid to any at­tempt by Myan­mar to pen­e­trate any other mar­ket, he added.

The Min­istry of Com­merce is tak­ing the lead in the ne­go­ti­a­tions, which will also bring in the min­istries of Agri­cul­ture and For­eign Af­fairs, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice and the Myan­mar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Mer­chants’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

They hope to be able to re­ply to In­dia soon, said the assistant sec­re­tary.

The In­dian de­mand has al­ready driven up the price of mung beans from K1.25 mil­lion a tonne to K1.45 mil­lion, said U Myat Soe, an ex­ec­u­tive with the Myan­mar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Mer­chants’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Com­merce, the ex­port of 720,000 tonnes of beans since the start of this fis­cal year brought in US$838 mil­lion, of which more than half, or $440 mil­lion, came from the ex­port of 310,000 tonnes of mung beans.

Last year’s ex­ports were in ex­cess of the 720,000 tonnes ex­ported so far this year, but in­come on the ex­ports was only $666 mil­lion.

“We earned more this year than last year be­cause the prices are higher. We might be able to ex­port the same ton­nage as last year,” said U Myat Soe.

In­dian con­sumers place value the Myan­mar mung bean and the pi­geon pea for their qual­ity and taste, which ex­plains why al­most 80pc of Myan­mar’s pulses ex­ports are sent to In­dia. In­dia has promised to pro­vide money and seeds, but first has to con­firm that the seeds they in­tend to sup­ply will be a good match with Myan­mar’s cli­mate and soil, said U Khin Maung Lwin said.

Myan­mar ex­ports beans and pulses to more than 50 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Pak­istan, UAE, Malaysia and Viet­nam.

‘We might be able to make it if we add pi­geon peas. Our depart­ment is ne­go­ti­at­ing this.’

U Khin Maung Lwin Com­merce min­istry

Photo: Staff

Bean traders make a deal.

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