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Canada-Based AGT Foods Begins Myanmar ‘Test Run’ Importing and Exporting Pulses and Rice

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One of the world’s largest beans and pulses traders has begun a “test run” in Myanmar after opening a representative office in Yangon in October.

Canada-based AGT Foods and Ingredients has set up a small team to source beans and rice for export, and to find buy­ers inside Myanmar for imports, the company’s chairman said.

Huseyin Arslan said during a trip to Myanmar last week that the country has major potential for AGT.

Myanmar is the third largest exporter of beans and pulses in the world af­ter Canada and Australia, and with a growing pool of consumers the com­pany sees a new market for imports from among its dozens of facilities in North America, South Af­rica, China, Australia and Turkey.

The three-person team, based out of a small office in the Sule Square com­plex in downtown Yan­gon, has so far exported 4,000 tons of produce and imported 23,000 tons, said Hitesh Jain, AGT’s country head for Myanmar.

“Pulses are very impor­tant for Myanmar; it’s the number three exporter in the world,” Arslan told Myanmar Business To­day. “In the last five years maybe three times in was number two. Why isn’t this known by the world?”

But he said despite the potential “there are qual­ity concerns in Myanmar” and described the exports the company had sold so far as being of “fair-aver­age quality”.

He added that the com­pany’s plans for Myanmar were not largely affected by the US’s recent deci­sion to once again include Myanmar in its Gener­alised System of Prefer­ences, which offers tariff cuts for imports of cer­tain products including pulses.

“We are thinking world­wide. Myanmar products, pulses especially, are not going to the USA much. Today it’s going mostly to India or Sri Lanka or Pa­kistan.”

There are two barriers preventing the pulses in­dustry progressing in My­anmar, said Arslan. One is a law preventing for­eign entities from having full ownership of compa­nies in Myanmar, which he said was hindering in­vestment.

The other barrier is a lack of technology to bring products up to the stand­ards that would allow ex­porters to charge more.

“The new technology is coming in but it’s not coming in at the speed the industry requires,” he said.

 

Source: Myanmar Business To­day
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