Import of sesame and raw peanuts threatens domestic prices

Mandalay wholesales of sesame seeds and raw peanuts have raised objections to a company’s application for a permit to import these two products, saying this must not be allowed since it will place downward pressure on domestic prices and impact local farmers. U Chun, Chair of the Mandalay Wholesale Center, met with executive members, merchants dealing in sesame seeds, beans and pulses, and edible oil millers on November 16 to discuss the issue of import and re-export of sesame seeds and raw peanuts on CMP (cut, make, pack) basis by the company in question.

The imports and re-exports under CMP will be tax exempt and prices will therefore, be cheap. Myanmar peanuts are mostly exported to China and with competition from cheap imports, the local prices will drop. If this happens, the farmers will be badly affected. However, should they export to other countries, then there is no problem. Sesame seeds and raw peanuts from China, India, Vietnam and Africa are already cheap, and with no taxes, the prices will be even lower, and hence, capture market share from local producers. Myanmar’s sesame seeds are pricier because of their superior quality, being organically produced with natural fertilizers, with good potential of higher demand and better prices in international markets. The country’s produce is exported to niche markets like Japan and the EU.

Local peanuts have a better taste and prices are 100 Yuan more than peanuts from China, and 200 Yuan more than Indian peanuts. Current prices of sesame seeds have dropped by K20,000 per bag of 45 viss, and peanut prices by K300 per viss, during this week. Such price fluctuations can be damaging for local growers. Past experience has shown how re-exports adversely impact domestic prices. The re-export of sugar had led to a drop in its price from K1400 per viss to K800. Zero taxes for imports, if they are re-exported, makes this option lucrative though it harms local growers’ interests. At this stage it is important to protect local farms and ensure price stability.

Source: Myanmar Times

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