Myanmar aims to export 1.4m tonnes of beans and pulses this year

Myanmar hopes to increase its exports of beans and pulses to 1.4 million tonnes this year, after two years of falling production, and is targeting new markets in the Middle East and United States.

Each year the country exports more than 1 million tonnes of beans and pulses, at a total value of around US$1 billion, said U Tun Lwin, chair of Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association.

The crops are becoming increasingly popular with farmers, as they fetch higher prices than paddy while production costs are lower. Most beans and pulses are harvested during January and March and are therefore not at risk of being destroyed by flooding during the rainy season.

In 2015-16 Myanmar exported 1.1 million tonnes of beans and pulses, as the price of matpe bean in India reached a decade-high of $1800 per tonne.

India, which is Myanmar’s largest export market for beans and pulses, is now paying around $1500 per tonne of mapte, but prices may rise again depending on supply, said U Tun Lwin.

“Given the strong demand from India the price of matpe could rise as high as $2000 per ton and farmers growing beans could earn a lot of income,” he said. The Indian government offers tax exemptions on imports of beans and pulses, he added.

Myanmar also started exporting the commodities to the European Union two years ago and plans to add new markets in the US and the Middle East, said U Soe Win Maung, a consultant from the Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association.

“Now that the EU is becoming more familiar with Myanmar beans the price is likely to increase. We also sell green gram to China, but we want to sell it for a higher price,” he said.

“We also need to target the Middle East and the US, but we need to produce beans to a higher quality if we want a good price.”

A lack of access to quality seeds combined with price volatility have affected production potential, the World Bank said in its most recent Myanmar Economic Monitor.

For the market to develop, farmers need to start producing crops to an international standard, and to choose their crop according to global demand, said U Soe Win Maung.

“Middle Eastern countries want larger beans – they say that beans from Myanmar are small,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times. Date: 10 June 2016