East African Pulses Round up for 2017
By Dr. Bharat Kulkarni
East Africa Pulses profile- In Africa, pulses are found mainly in East Africa. Countries such as Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia and Mozambique have been the traditional producers, whereas Sudan is a new entrant. The introduction of pulses of African origin into India goes back several years, when the State Trading Corporation, along with a few private traders brought them to India.
East Africa exports pulses like Pigeon peas, Green Mung beans, Kidney beans and Chickpeas. Pigeon pea is exported form Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi, whereas Chickpea is exported from Tanzania and some from Ethiopia. Moong is exported by Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Country wise status report: The huge pulses import from India has acted as a catalyst for many projects in East African nations to promote production of pulses.
The increasing export of pulses to India in 2014 and 2015 led to traditional producers increasing their acreage and adopting new types, and also, some new entrants like Sudan have joined the pulses bandwagon. However, the collapse of market in 2016 has led to a confused state for producing countries in Africa. Here is a quick round up of the market situation and outlook for 2017 crop.
Tanzania- As a major producer of pulses like Pigeon pea and Chickpeas in the region, Tanzania will continue to dominate the supplies this year as well. However, drought has been announced this year which is seen affecting the output. In addition, the price collapse of past year and the non-availability of seeds has reduced the supply expectation by about 25-30 percent.
Against the regular supply of 100,000 tons of Pigeon peas, and 40,000 tons of chickpeas and Mung beans, we are expecting about 70 to 80 thousand of Pigeon peas and about 30 thousand of chickpeas and mung beans. The sowing is delayed this year due to drought in both the producing areas- Dodoma/ Sindiga as well as Arusha/ Babati. The supply, as a result, is also expected to be delayed and reach the market by September.
Ethiopia- This origin has been a pulses producer and exporter for a good number of years. However, not much of export is directed towards India. The major items of export have been White Pea beans, Red Kidney bean, field pea, chickpea (Desi and Kabuli). Some quantity of mung beans are also exported. A lot of Indian buyers have been trying to look for red Lentils and Chickpeas in Ethiopia. However, the export of red lentils is banned from Ethiopia.
Due to good rains in the region, the production was up by 10 to 15 percent on an average. Ethiopia is expected to produce about 120 to 130 thousand tons this year. The harvesting of pulses happens in October to November in Ethiopia.
Kenya- Though Kenya is not a major player in supply of pulses, with 10-12 thousand tons of Pigeon peas and about 40 thousand tons of Mung beans, however, the country is expecting drought this year and the pulses production is expected to be about 15-20 percent less. We can see a supply of about 25 to 30 thousand tons of pulses exported this year.
Malawi- Malawi has been a major supplier of Pigeon peas to India. The average export of pigeon peas from Malawi is between 80,000 – 100,000 tons. This year the production is expected to be a bit low and range between 75,000 and 80,000 tons. There has been excessive rain in some parts that has affected production. The supply is expected to arrive by end-august / early- September.
Overall, East African countries, particularly Tanzania, Malawi and Ethiopia have seen a significant rise in production and overall supply is at a higher level. Together, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi supply about 400,000 to 500,000 tons of pigeon peas to India. This is expected to grow by 15 percent this year. However, the current tailspin of prices has put almost all the exporters and producers in a confused state in Africa.