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Bumper harvest in India drives down demand for Myanmar pulses


File photo - Protest over rising food prices in New Delhi, India in 2015. Photo: EPA

India says a bumper harvest of pulses and beans back home has driven down import demands, forcing New Delhi to impose restrictions on imports from Myanmar.

"Price of pulses have come down in India because of the bumper harvest and that has led to quantitative restrictions on imports," said an Indian embassy press release today.

But it said these restrictions would not affected bilateral MOUs, though it quickly added: "For some reason, Myanmar could not respond positively for entering into a  long term bilateral MOU for supplying pulses and beans to India on a G2G basis ."

Yangon has blamed New Delhi for restricting import of three major pulses from Myanmar, saying that the move has plunged Burmese pulses industry into chaos.

In August, India announced a 200,000-ton import quota on pigeon peas and 300,000-ton quota on mung bean and green grams. 

The severe restriction by India  now limiting the amount of pea products from Myanmar has quickly and adversely affected the Burmese pulses market. The restriction would help support prices of lentils in India but would put pressure on producers in Myanmar who rely heavily on export to India. 

The  regular purchase of beans by India has been stopped, said a pulses trading association, calling for negotiation between the two nations’ authorities to find a settlement.

This is emerging as a major trade issue between the two nations on the eve of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Myanmar on 6-7 Sept.

Myanmar has been exporting peas to India for nearly three decades, while India exported medicines, sugar and agricultural machinery to Myanmar. Yangon’s commodity depot has ceased operation due to India’s import quota restriction on pulses, prompting the pulse prices to plummet.

Myanmar exports around 1.5 million tons of pulses to foreign countries annually, of which India is the largest market.

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