Will Myanmar manage to export 1.4 million tonnes of pulses and beans?

Myanmar is now focused on creating a niche for its beans and pulses in the Middle East and  the United States to help meet its export target of 1.4 million tonnes. About 1 million tonnes of pulses and beans valued around US $1 billion is exported by the Asian nation every year said U Tun Lwin, chair of Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association.

Lwin also went to reveal that the crops have found favour with farmers as they command a higher price than paddy. Lower production costs are another benefit of cultivating pulses and beans.

The crops are further harvested between January and March. So there is no chance of the crops being destroyed by floods during the rainy season.

1.1 million tonnes of pulses and beans was exported by the Asian country in 2015-16, given the growing demand from India. India pays a decade-high of $1800 per tonne for mapte bean.

The biggest export market for Myanmar’s pulses and beans, India now pays around $1500 for a tonne of mapte. Lwin says that the cost is likely to rise based on the supply.

“Given the strong demand from India the price of mapte could rise as high as $2000 per tonne 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.

European Union is another key market for Myanmar. The Asian country started exporting to the EU 2 years ago. It is also planning on targeting new markets in the U.S. and Middle according to U Sor 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 recent Myanmar Economic Monitor released by the World Bank highlighted that a lack of access to quality seeds and price volatility were negatively impacting production potential.

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.

Farmers will need to start producing crops of an international standard and cultivate those in global demand to develop markets said, Maung.

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

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