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May 20, 2019

India halts pulses imports; mung bean prices hit three-month low

A farmer sprays beans plants in Kangyidauk Village, Ayeyawady Region. Photo : Phoe Khwar

India’s provincial court issued a notice halting importation of pulses and beans on 30 January, prompting Indian merchants to stop purchases, which led to prices of mung beans sliding to a three-month low in the domestic market, said traders at the Bayintnaung commodity depot.
Before the end of January, mung bean RC was fetching K700,000 per ton. On 2 February, the prices slipped to K574,000 per ton — the lowest in three months. Mung bean was priced K576,000 per ton on 18 October.
India’s move to restrict importation of pulses in August 2017 has severely affected growers in Myanmar. Before the restrictions were put in place, the prices stood at K800,000 per ton, but by 8 May, 2018, mung bean prices had plummeted sharply to K382,000 per ton.
In early May, India announced an import quota of 150,000 tons each on mung bean and green grams, and 200,000 tons on pigeon peas between mid-June and August. India bought the entire quota of mung beans and thereafter, some merchants continued to import the beans to fulfil local demand by applying for special licences.
Mung bean was priced below K600,000 per ton on 22 October 2018 and the rate bounced back to K988,000 per ton on 6 November, 2018 on the back of increasing demand from India.
Myanmar is trying to work out a government-to-government (G-to-G) agreement so that growers and traders do not suffer on account of changes in Indian policy on importation of pulses.
Myanmar’s mung beans, pigeon peas, and green grams are primarily exported to India. Although Myanmar pulses and beans have penetrated the markets of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Malaysia, and Indonesia, the volume of exports to those countries is extremely
low.
Myanmar ships over 1 million tons of different varieties of pulses to other counties annually, and mung beans, green grams, and pigeon peas make up a majority of the exports.

 

—Maung Sae Aung/ Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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