Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], July 14 (ANI/Hunk Golden and Media): India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), the nodal body for India's pulses trade and industry along with India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce co-hosted a webinar on TUR, URAD & MOONG SCENARIO IN INDIA & MYANMAR under the aegis of 'THE IPGA KNOWLEDGE SERIES'.
India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) recently signed an MoU with the India Myanmar Chamber of Commerce (IMCC) to work towards to establish a framework for cooperation aimed at contributing to sustainable socio-economic development through increased competitiveness and trade, improved business environment, and to be used as a basis for the formulation and implementation of technical cooperation projects, specifically in the pulses sector. The Webinar was the first such initiative under the tenets of the MoU.
Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary - Dept. of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India was Chief Guest at the webinar and H.E. Shri Sourabh Kumar, Hon'ble Ambassador of India to Myanmar was the Special Speaker. Mr. B Krishna Murthy, Managing Director - Four P International, Chennai presented the Indian overview on Urad & Mr. Punit Bachhawat, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Operations, Prakash Agro Industries, Ahmedabad spoke on Tur and Moong. The Myanmar overview on Tur was presented by Mr. Vatsal Lilani, Managing Director, Overtop Commodities, Myanmar while Desh Ratna, Treasurer and Executive Committee Member IMCC spoke on Urad and Moong.
The panellists covered key aspects like impact of change in India's import policies, impact of COVID, impact of Myanmar's political unrest as well as production, demand - supply gap, available stock for export, expected exports to India, expected import quantities, etc. during the course of the webinar.
Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary - Dept. of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, speaking at the webinar said, "India has recently signed an MoU signed with Myanmar for imports of Tur and Urad which we believe will bring a lot of stability in both the countries. When we saw that the availability of pulses is a challenge and that several other including African countries are ready to supply these pulses, we made a very bold decision of entering into a stable relationship of over five years so that the farmers in those countries also are assured to an extent that they will have a stable market in India, and it will also provide pulses at moderate price too. The government also made it easy for the importers to bring in the agri-commodities without any restrictions when the prices rose during the pandemic."
Khare, speaking about the pulses prices and steps taken by the Government to ensure availability of pulses for consumers at reasonable prices, said, "The department has a very important role to play, when it comes to making the pulses available to the consumers at a reasonable and fair price. We have been also monitoring the price behaviour from time to time over the past several years and it is in moderation. Now, we have a very institutionalized mechanism to watch for the prices of consumers and also understand the behaviour of these prices. The rising trend in the prices have actually made us aware about the gap in the demand and supply of various pulses. The department has actually strengthened the daily price monitoring system, which has given us a very accurate feedback on the retail price. When the prices of pulses continued to rise even after harvest, the government took several steps including declaration of stocks.
H.E. Shri Saurabh Kumar, Hon'ble Ambassador of India to Myanmar applauding IPGA and IMCC's efforts said, "Pulses are very important as far as the India - Myanmar relations are concerned. All the stakeholders have pointed out the criticality of pulses in our bilateral trade. Myanmar farmers are dependent upon exports of pulses and whenever there is a shortfall in India's domestic production, India imports from Myanmar. I am given to understand that if India does not import, the production patterns in Myanmar shift or get diverted to other crops. We are looking at see what more can be done to have a stronger relationship as far as pulses are concerned and providing a certain amount of predictability."
Punit Bachhawat - Head Of Operations and Chief Financial Officer, Prakash Agro Mills presenting Indian overview on Tur and Moong said, "India's domestic production of Tur and Moong has fallen short of estimated numbers primarily due to weather incidences like unseasonal rains. Due to this, the Government has allowed pulses imports under OGL till 31st October and we expect a good quantity of imports of these pulses. However, we have seen frequent changes in in the import and export policy with regards to pulses, and therefore to increase more volumes and further strengthening of relations, long term policy needs to be worked out with consensus of all, then both sides farmers and cultivators will have a clear cut view about future of their products."
Vatsal Lilani, Managing Director, Evertop Commodities Pte. Ltd. and Executive Committee Member, India Myanmar Chamber Of Commerce, presenting Myanmar's overview on Tur said, "The signing of an MoU for import of one lakh tons of Tur is an excellent step from the trades perspective. We would like to request the Indian Government to consider increasing the MoU quantity which will provide insurance against weather vagaries and the Myanmar farmer will be incentivized to grow more and help bring many of the Central Burma farmers back to growing this additional quantity which is just a fraction of India's consumption. There is a strong possibility of Myanmar farmers switching to other crops unless they see a pattern of consistent demand.
B Krishna Murthy, Managing Director, Four P International, Chennai Indian overview of Urad said, "Urad is grown in only two countries in the world, India and Myanmar. In India, we have been meeting our domestic needs by steadily improving domestic crop size, when importing the shortfall only from Myanmar. Our dependence on Myanmar in recent years is steadily going down."
Krishna Murthy, speaking about the current scenario of Urad said, For the year 2020-21 with an estimated of production coming to 23.8 lakh tons, and add to this 4 lakh tons of import from Myanmar, the total availability would be around 27 to 28 lakh tons, which under normal circumstances would have fallen short of the annual demand. Due to COVID, nearly 23 crore people have been pushed below the poverty line resulting in lower consumption levels and hence demand has dropped for many pulses."
Desh Ratna, Treasurer and IMCC Executive Committee Member speaking about Myanmar's scenario for Urad & Moong said, "The pulses production in Myanmar has been gradually reducing primarily as a result of the policies of the Indian Government which have affected farmer confidence. They are slowly shifting to crops like yellow maize, sesame, soyabean, etc. As far as crop availability for 2021 is concerned, for Urad, we had a carry forward stock of 20,000 tons and we expect to be able to export around 550,000 tons out of which we have already exported 250,000 tons and expect another 250,000 tons to be exported by this year end. In the case of Moong, over a period of time with the India's self-sufficiency improving, the volumes being traded from Myanmar to India have gone down drastically."
Ratna, speaking about how trade between India and Myanmar can be improved said, "We would like to invite Indian organizations to come and invest in Myanmar's quality seed production program or farm mechanization program, which will help basically the farmers to have a better yield of their crops. Investing in post-harvest crop management can also be explored and the Government of Myanmar would be happy to invite you and work jointly with you to study and execute these opportunities. Myanmar also needs support in terms of modernization of the storage and processing facilities within this sector. Mr. Ratna further added, "Another opportunity is to explore the possibility of producing Red Lentils in Myanmar. India imports around 4.50 to 5 lakh tons of Red Lentils from Canada which can instead be grown in Myanmar and exported to India. We welcome you to jointly study and explore this and are happy to invite anybody who would like to participate in this program."
Sunil Seth, President, IMCC in his opening remarks said, "This webinar is a beginning of a very fruitful relationship between IPGA and IMCC. We are keen to make Myanmar more competitive so as to have sustainable business in the agri commodities space between the two countries. IMCC is seriously looking at direct shipping, probably using 300 to 500 TEU capacity vessels, between India and Myanmar as it will hugely benefit the trade. We are also exploring production of other pulses beyond Tur, Urad and Moong and looking at producing chickpeas, yellow peas. etc. The Chamber is also looking at working with the local agri producers to see how to reduce FOB costs as Myanmar has stiff competition now from Africa. East African countries are managing to supply Tur to India at a cheaper cost. We will work with the agri producers and suppliers here to look at the whole supply chain and see how we can make Myanmar competitive."
Jitu Bheda, Chairman, IPGA in his opening remarks said, "Myanmar is a key origin from India's perspective for pulses like Tur and Urad since, apart from India, Myanmar is the only other country in the world where Urad is produced and along with few East African Nations, Myanmar is the only country producing Tur. IPGA and IMCC will work together to strengthen and promote trade and business linkages between India and Myanmar and today's webinar is the first step in that direction."
The IPGA KNOWLEDGE SERIES consists of webinars hosted with eminent domain experts from the Government, Market, and Industry to discuss and explore topics of critical interest to the pulses sector in India and the world at large.
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