Thursday, August 17, 2017

Low rainfall to hit Shwebo B&P production

A beans and pulses trader talks on his phone while inspecting samples in Yangon. Lwin Maung Maung/ The Myanmar TimesA beans and pulses trader talks on his phone while inspecting samples in Yangon. Lwin Maung Maung/ The Myanmar Times

Beans and pulses traders in Sagaing Region’s Shwebo township say they are bracing themselves for a fall in production as a result of insufficient rainfall in the growing season.

Shwebo township is an agriculture hub in upper Myanmar that produces significant quantities of beans and pulses and paddy.

“We already face a lack of stock because the harvests were not large last year, so even though prices are high we can’t meet demand,” said Daw Si Si Naing, the owner of Myathiri beans and pulses trading company in Shwebo.

Major beans and pulses crops are planted during August and harvested in February.

“We all expect production to decline so traders are trying to collect as much stock possible to stockpile it for the coming season, when they expect they will earn big profits,” she said.

Pae sin ngone, also called Toor or pigeon pea, is selling for K63,000 for a 60 kilogram bag, a 57.5 percent increase on the K40,000 average at this time last year.

“The weather is to blame because farmers did not get enough water to properly grow their crops last year, and this year is even worse,” she said.

Daw Si Si Naing added that rats also destroyed some crops last year.

U Aung Myo, the owner of Aunglan beans and pulse trading company at Shwebo, said August and September are peak growing season for beans and pulses, and sales were strong. But he said corn sales were normal – most buyers were alcohol producers and farm owners buying the corn as animal feed.

Pae ne (red bean) and pae kyar (striped bean) prices have increased from K15,000 last year to K17,000 last week. He added that the amount of land used for cultivation had fallen from 75pc of the available area used last year to just 30pc this year.

“Our sales are about 30pc higher than last year at about 300 bags for each variety a day,” he said.

He added that farmers had lost money this year because traders bought crops before they were harvested when prices were low but as soon as deliveries started arriving at warehouses the price started to rise.

However, he said that farmers had made good profits the previous year because traders had only made small stockpiles and had no choice but to pay high prices to the farmers.

Shwebo farmer U Naing said: “We have so many difficulties now with the weather and small amounts of capital to invest in our next crop.”