Beans and pulses exports damaged but not stopped by floods

The flow of beans and pulses exports will continue even if volumes are reduced by recent devastating floods, according to U Min Ko Oo, secretary of the Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association.

The Myanmar Rice Federation has suspended rice exports until mid-September to assist local consumers and prevent a price spike, though there are no similar plans for beans and pulses.

While rice domestic rice production is generally geared to meet Myanmar demand, with a relatively small percentage being exported, U Min Ko Oo said the emphasis in local beans and pulses production is on the export market.

“Our exports earn foreign exchange, and our beans and pulses crops are consumed in other countries,” he said.

India is the destination for over 70pc of Myanmar’s exported beans and pulses, according to an April report from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

U Min Ko Oo said the relative success of Myanmar’s exports of the crops each year depends on India’s harvest – if it has a weak harvest, then Myanmar is able to export more to meet untapped demand.

“[Indian traders] said there has not been severe weather damage to their bean crop,” he said. “We will wait and see how much of their crop they can harvest. If their fields are also damaged, then the price of our beans would go up.”

September is the traditional time for India’s bean and pulses harvest, with Myanmar’s harvest coming later in the year.

U Min Ko Oo said that some warehouses had been damaged by the rising water, while shipments and logistics have also been slowed.

The Mandalay market is now dealing with less stock, and there is great concern about losses at the Kalay warehouses, as it is a centre for the trade and is also one of the areas worst-hit by the flood. Early reports indicate 18 warehouses in Kalay have been damaged by the floods.

The April report from the US Department of Agriculture said that Myanmar produced 4.863 million tonnes of beans and pulses in 2014, of which 1.283 million tonnes were exported. In the report released before the recent floods, it had estimated that 5.122 million tonnes would be produced this year, of which 1.35 million tonnes would be exported.

Source: Myanmar Times

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