Beans, pulses farmers urged to grow marketable crops to cope with market change

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Yangon, Aug 18,

VICE President U Henry Van Thio has urged farmers, traders and authorities concerned to swift from current pulses and beans of Matpe and Toor Whole to another crops in preparation for future market stability.

He made the remark at the workshop on developing trade and export of Myanmar pulses, beans and sesame in Yangon yesterday. Myanmar’s beans and pulses growers turned to maize, sugarcane and jute this year after they were adversely affected by restrictions by India limiting the amount of pea products from Myanmar last year. This year’s beans and pulses growing season has seen over 500,000 acres decrease in Toor Whole acreage. “We should seek ways to grow other crops which are favourable to the soil and climate instead of Matpe in this Matpe season,” said Vice President U Henry Van Thio in his capacity as head of the Leading Committee for Farmers Rights, Protection and Interests Promotion.

The workshop was jointly organized by Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Myanmar Pulses, Beans & Sesame Seeds Merchants Association and Yangon Region Merchants and Industrialists Association (Bayintnaung agriculture commodities trading market) at the Mingalar Hall of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) in Minyekyawswa Road, Yangon yesterday morning.

Myanmar is an agriculture nation and rice, pulses and beans are the main agriculture products. Rice is the staple food of the country and is exported only after there is enough for local consumption. But only some pulses and beans are consumed locally and most are exported to foreign markets and up to fiscal year 2016-2017, it was the crops that earned the most foreign exchange. In 2017-2018, prices of Matpe and Toor Whole declined drastically but were still the second highest export earning crops. 171 countries including Myanmar produces pulses and beans and in Myanmar about 21 percent of the cultivated areas were producing pulses and beans.

When market economy was practiced in Myanmar, pulses and beans sector become the most rapidly developing sector. Myanmar is the biggest exporter of pulses and beans in Asia and ranks second after Canada in the world. This sector develops rapidly because the government provided agriculture inputs in terms of dams, irrigation system, agriculture technologies and better seed varieties. Geographically, Myanmar is bordered with India, the world’s biggest producer and importer of pulses and beans.

Pulses and beans consumed in India were familiar for Myanmar pulses and beans farmers and this is a significant advantage for Myanmar pulses and beans. For the pulses and beans sector to develop further trade should be properly conducted and all need to work together toward the stability of the market. Protection of the Farmer Rights and Enhancement of their Benefits Law was enacted as Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 32/2013 and Leading Committee for Farmers Rights, Protection and Interests Promotion was formed.

The State is continuously striving toward enabling private business to conduct manufacturing and trading works while giving priority to the farmers who are the majority, said the Vice President. “Only when the farmers knew the situation of exporting Matpe and Toor Whole to India, can they plant alternative crops. Farmers also need to envision possible problems in planting replacement crops and find solution together with relevant ministries,” said Vice President U Henry Van Thio. For pulses and beans farmers to produce replacement crops, short term, mid-term and long term goals need to be set. Short term is the matter of selling off excess pulses and beans.

Mid-term is providing seeds, agriculture technology and post-harvest technology and arranging to obtain a market. Long term is to setup a National Agriculture Master Plan in agriculture sector for the development of the country. “It is believed that today’s discussion will produce results that support the development of the farmers and the country,” said the Vice President.

Present at the workshop were Union Minister for Commerce Dr. Than Myint, Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr. Aung Thu, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, Hluttaw representatives from Amyotha and Pyithu Hluttaw related to agriculture and livestock, UMFCCI President U Zaw Min Win, Myanmar Pulses, Beans & Sesame Seeds Merchants Association, economic researchers, pulses, beans and sesame farmers from states and regions, chairmen and officials from Bayintnaung agriculture commodities trading market, farmers, producers, traders, merchants and departmental officials.

Next, Union Minister for Commerce Dr. Than Myint, Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr. Aung Thu, UMFCCI President U Zaw Min Win, Myanmar Pulses, Beans & Sesame Seeds Merchants Association Chairman U Tun Lwin, economic researcher Dr. Zaw Oo explained about status of producing and exporting pulses and beans, technical support provided for good agriculture practice, establishing a good pulse and bean market in the future, replacement crops to pulses and beans, status of current pulse and bean market and field research findings.

The meeting program was then continued where farmers from Ayeyawady Region, Bago Region, Sagaing Region and Magway Region, Ministry of Commerce Permanent Secretary and Department of Agriculture Director General explained about growing and producing of pulses and beans and Matpe and Toor Whole market situation.

Following this, economic researcher Dr. Zaw Oo explained about matters to be discussed in group wise discussion and participants conducted group wise discussions simultaneously.

After the group wise discussions, representatives of each group discussed about the group discussion. Agriculture experts attached to each group also discussed their observations and views.

A summary was then made and the findings were announced after which the event came to a close after Myanmar Pulses, Beans & Sesame Seeds Merchants Association Chairman delivered a concluding speech. — Myanmar News Agency