In a bid to boost bilateral trade between India and Myanmar, the India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA) has made a pitch for rupee-denominated trade with the major supplier of pulses such as black matpe (urad) and pigeon pea (tur). IPGA suggested that the export-import trade be directly carried out by the business entities in both the countries.

Presently, the pulses trade between Indian and Myanmar is largely carried out through the entities based in Singapore and is denominated in US dollar.

“As we are supporting the Myanmar farmers by importing the pulses, we have urged them to carry out the trade in the Indian rupee,” IPGA chairman Bimal Kothari told businessline.

Trade delegation visit

In Mumbai, IPGA recently hosted a trade delegation from Myanmar led by Tin Htut Oo, Union Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Myanmar, to discuss various opportunities, avenues and platforms wherein Myanmar and IPGA can collaborate and work together to address issues impacting the trade.

“The bilateral trade between the two countries has the potential to grow exponentially. To further foster the trade relationship between India and Myanmar and augment trade volume, we at IPGA would recommend that the import and export between the two countries shall be conducted directly between the business entities located in India and Myanmar and the trade maybe denominated in Indian rupee,” Kothari told the delegation.

India has been importing , urad and moong bean from Myanmar for over four decades. Moreover, the deals carried out through Singapore-based entities add up to the costs, making it expensive, Kothari said.

The pulses trade between both countries depends on the import policy of the Indian government. Currently, India has placed the import of pulses such as urad and tur under free category till March 31, 2023.

Joint research mooted

The value of the pulses being imported from Myanmar in the current financial year is likely to be around $600 million or roughly ₹5,000 crore, Kothari said. This includes about $400-450 million worth of urad and over 150 million worth of tur, he said.

In a statement, Kothari said, “ India and Myanmar can undertake joint research to enhance the production, productivity, and nutritional quality of pulses. Keeping in mind our similarities and for the sake of mutual and shared prosperity, we at IPGA also recommend that Myanmar is a potential location for investment in the agriculture sector for Indian entrepreneurs for which the Government of Myanmar should incentivise investments in Myanmar from India. For this, we will urge Myanmar to conduct a series of roadshows in major Indian cities highlighting the opportunities in the agricultural sector. To take the idea forward, I recommend a joint group of IPGA and Agriculture Ministry of Myanmar may be set up which shall contribute pro-actively to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.”

Tin Htut Oo said, “Myanmar is investing further in the food and agriculture sector. We need to transform to adapt to the needs of the new generation. We have to create a conducive environment for the private sector to invest. On the government-to- government relation, we have to assure that there is a stable trade and agreements between the two countries so that the producers and the traders are assured of doing long term trading. We need to open up more investment opportunities for the development of the pulses industry. On the government side, we need to focus more on research and development. The MoU for the exchange of technology between the two agricultural ministries is a step in that direction. Government and private sector partnership is required to achieve the larger objective of food security. We are pleased to be aligned with the vision and mission of IPGA. We should work together towards enhancing the pulses sector as it has a very big potential in the future.”