As India cuts imports of tur, Burmese farmers switch crops to take Chinese bus
With India restricting its imports of tur from Myanmar, farmers in neighboring countries are quickly replacing tur with other crops such as sesame, corn and cotton, for which there is a ready market in China and others. neighboring countries, according to experts.
âFrom a total of 3,000,000 tonnes in 2015, the production of tur in Myanmar has fallen to 80,000 tonnes this year. As farmers are unsure of India’s needs in volumes of up to 250,000 tonnes, which was normal before, they are turning to other crops, âsaid Vatsal Lilani, Managing Director of Evertop Commodities. Pte Ltd.
Lilani was among the trade experts who attended a webinar hosted by the Indian Pulses and Grains Association and the Chambers of Commerce of India and Myanmar to discuss the situation of tur, urad and moong in India and Myanmar.
He said Myanmar started cultivating Tur only 20 years ago and exported 80% of Tur to India year after year. But as India’s tur production has been relatively higher since 2016, exports have declined, resulting in huge carry-over stocks. Compared with the 2.4 lakh tonnes exported to India in 2015, the exports in 2020 were only 1.5 lakh tonnes, Lilani said.
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In June of this year, India signed a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar to import 250,000 tonnes of urad and 1,000,000 tonnes of tur annually through private trade for the next five years. Besides Myanmar, India also sources pigeon peas from African countries.
The rain factor
âThe 1,000,000 tonne MoU figures are well regarded. But from a business perspective, there is a very strong feeling that the number should be significantly higher, âsaid Lilani. India, he said, consumes around 4 million tons of tur per year and, in this sense, 1,000,000 tons represents only 2.5% of total consumption. But its impact on the overall price situation can be significantly higher. Second, pulse production in India depends to a large extent on the rains. Today there is further uncertainty of out of season rains at harvest time. So a higher amount of MoU would provide insurance against this, as Myanmar farmers would be incentivized to grow more tur, he said.
âOnce he migrates to a different culture, it will be very difficult to bring him back. Large parts of the Sagaing region (which borders the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland), responsible for much of tur production, have already moved. Farmers don’t have the desire to grow turkey again unless there is a consistent demand pattern, âhe said.
According to Desh Ratna, an internationally recognized commodity trader, India has received 65% of pulses exported from Myanmar consistently over the past five years. The round, black gram and green gram account for almost 70 percent of the legumes produced in the neighboring country. Just like tur, 70-80% of the black gram produced in Myanmar is also exported to India, Ratna said, adding that shortly after India liberalized the import of pulses in May due to high prices. High inland, almost a ton lakh of black gram was exported to India, most of which arrived at the port of Chennai.