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Black Sea Pulses

06 October 202011 min reading

Elena Faige Neroba Business Development Manager, Maxigrain

“Despite the decline in pulse production after 2017, Russia, Ukraine and other countries in the region are trying to maintain export volumes. For Ukrainian legumes, the main markets remain the EU, India and Turkey, where both peas and other crops are actively sold. Russia, besides these countries, is also active in the Pakistani market. For the last two seasons, Ukraine has occupied 4% of the pea production market, while Russia produces 17-18% of all world peas.”

Last week, Ukraine hosted the 5th International Conference “Era after COVID-19, which highlighted not only the problems and challenges facing the pulse industry, but also the prospects for its development. It is noteworthy that in spite of all the difficulties, the Ukrainian Association of Legumes was able to organize the usual "live" communication for us at least for the delegates from Ukraine. Over the five years of the Ukrainian association's existence, a huge work has been done to develop the industry, and Ukraine began to be marked on the map of world trade not only in grain and oil. Vegetable protein is important in replacing meat for those countries where the culture of its consumption is not developed due to economic, climatic or religious characteristics.

Unfortunately, many attendees were unable to attend the event in person, but they were online. Hussein Arslan assured the conference participants that the world will be able to accumulate strategic reserves, especially in the countries of Southeast Asia, where legumes are an important part of food culture and an important staple food. Ms Brown from GPC also highlighted the important role of legumes in the structure of the consumer basket. Mr. Feofilov from UkrAgroConsult devoted his report to the potential of trade development under quarantine conditions, and highlighted the important role of the Black Sea region.

Despite the decline in production after 2017, Russia, Ukraine and other countries in the region are trying to maintain export volumes. For Ukrainian legumes, the main markets remain the EU, India and Turkey, where both peas and other crops are actively sold. Russia, besides these countries, is also active in the Pakistani market. For the last two seasons, Ukraine has occupied 4% of the pea production market, while Russia produces 17-18% of all world peas. Due to the global trend of lower prices for raw materials, the main factor that stimulates farmers to expand their areas has been lost - profitability. Mr. Feofilov hopes that the desire of countries to increase stocks in a quarantine environment will bring about this trend. At the same time, in 2020, there is still a revival of demand from India for legumes, but not due to peas in 2020, but due to a decrease in the duty on lentils to 10%, which was in effect until August - therefore, they were purchased mainly with lentils. The main supplier of lentils India - For a nada (even Australia, but there are disparate volumes). Canada was able to take advantage of the reduction in import duty on lentils in India and shipped 64% more in 2019/20 than 2018/19, which is almost equal to purchases in 2016 (before the introduction of quotas on legumes).

Ukraine is still focusing on peas as the main export crop in niche legumes. The share of exports in the 2020 crop is estimated at 75%, which almost coincides with the average for the last 5 years (76%). The high share of exports in the crop indicates that peas are an export-oriented crop. Therefore, the closure of the Indian market immediately caused a reduction in crops.

In 2020, due to a poor corn harvest in the region, the role of peas as a fodder component may increase, that is, a potentially high import demand within the regional or EU is possible. In Ukraine, export started well in 2020/21 MY (+ 25% from last year ), but we can expect a decrease in export rates (the curve will be similar to last year), as the Indian market is still closed. The main export directions in July-August are the same as a year ago - Italy, Spain, the Netherlands. Operational data from the ports show 20.5 thousand tons in September (the direction is the same - Spain).

The export of legumes other than peas is still focused on chickpeas. In January-August, the export of chickpea amounted to 30.6 thousand tons (56% more than on the same date last year ), overtook beans for the first time in the first 8 months of 2020. Due to low production, Ukraine was unable to take advantage of the increase in the price of lentils, because in 2020 the sown area decreased significantly. Farmers' trust in legumes continues to wane, peas are already a proven crop and continue to be planted as a good predecessor. Official data is available only for peas and beans (in the table).

The increase in the area under beans is due to their high price. There are no exact data on all other leguminous areas, but the official information is 29 thousand hectares - this includes chickpeas, lentils, vetch, lupine, broad beans and more. Ukrainian farmers did not take advantage of the rise in the price of lentils and sowed them in scanty quantities. In 2020, the price began to rise, the whole world reacted with an increase in acreage, except for Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. Exports will decline.

Competition in the lentil market for Ukraine is Kazakhstan. After a peak in 2017 began to reduce lentil crops. In 2020 - especially, we decided to return to wheat (no surprises). Problematic sales: India - duties on all legumes, Turkey - remains the main buyer.

FALLING AREA AND HARVEST In the chickpea segment, the prices are almost the same as for peas - a decrease. Farmers do not risk growing chickpeas, the price does not show significant growth, and is not particularly attractive. Thanks to large batches (high production) and an affordable price, Russia has broken out into the TOPs for the export of chickpeas in the world market, overtook all major suppliers in 2019/20 MY (November). Fasol- the most expensive of the major legumes in Ukrainian Ain market, the only culture, the area under which Ukraine grew in 2020, so we expect export growth.

Since India is increasing the production of legumes, therefore, their import demand was modest. There is also growth in the new season, so there is no need to expect a return in demand on their part. It is necessary to enter the Chinese market, as Canada did, which supplies there about 2 million tons per year.

In her presentation, the representative of the Hydrometeorological Center of Ukraine Tatiana Adamenko noted that global warming affects the yield of grains, oilseeds and legumes. In Ukraine, the amount of precipitation decreases from year to year, and with warming, this leads to a change in climatic zones. A further increase in surface air temperature is expected in all seasons. The most probable change in the precipitation regime is a slight increase in their amount in winter and spring periods and a decrease in summer and autumn. On the recommendation of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), conclusions on the trend of temperature and precipitation over the last decade can be an advisory forecast (prototype) of the average weather conditions of the next decade.

During the 5th International Conference “Era after COVID-19, much attention was paid to the issues of soybeans. Oleg Onishchenko from SGS presented the quality assurance of Ukrainian soybeans.

The second panel of the conference was dedicated to Ukraine's place in the world soybean market. Representatives of leading companies - importers and exporters discussed the issues of legalizing GMOs in Ukraine, and the possibility of imports, and plans for processing soybeans within the country. Recently, the Ukrainian government took an unpopular measure to protect the processors - exporters were denied tax refunds when exporting raw materials. But manufacturers insisted on equal opportunities for all, and the initiative was canceled. Due to weather conditions, the new soybean harvest in Ukraine is expected to be 30% lower than last year. According to my estimates by it barely exceeds 3,1MMT. Against the background of rising prices all over the world due to active demand from China, Ukrainian soybeans are also becoming more expensive. The precedent of imports of soybeans for the first time in the history of Ukraine was not ignored either. The representative of the Arnika company, which processes soybeans into a unique type of feed, supported the opinion that if producers hold back sales and give preference to exporters, they are ready to buy imported soybeans. Although, in general, imports are not yet considered by the market in any significant volumes. The discussion panel on the world legume market aroused the greatest interest among the conference participants. The organizers decided to move away from the standard and boring presentation model and brought together representatives of exporters and importers from around the world from India and China to Canada and Brazil on one screen. Turkey was represented by Sintez Group , a large pea processor. Ukraine was represented by the HarvEast holding , David Chen from China and Julio Mariucci from Brazil discussed the specifics of the beans market, which caused many additional questions from everyone. In particular, when will Ukraine be able to supply beans to China, and does Brazil have an interest in Ukrainian beans? With demand growing in both countries, this would support the price of beans. An interesting fact is that these countries have changed their trade statuses, Brazil used to buy beans, and now began to sell them. The demand for food is growing. Mr. Bogusoglu and Navnit Chhabra focused on the issues of chickpea. A few years back, kabuli chickpea prices were at record highs. Growers at all origins responded by seeding more and more of them, resulting in a global glut that caused prices to crash. Production has since declined, but burdensome carryover stocks have continued to weigh down prices.

In the starting of 2020, with reduced production in India and Mexico, and lower seeding intentions in the US, Canada, Turkey and Ukraine, Russia, there was an expectation that market conditions would improve. But then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, shuttering the HORECA (Hotel = HO, Restaurant = RE, Cafe = CA) sector, the major kabuli chickpea consumer globally. Now with the pandemic easing and HORECA businesses reopening, in the past few weeks, we saw good demands & market improved little bit.

In the past few weeks, India desi chickpeas prices increased from 150-180 USD PMT, so with this reason India is looking cheap kabuli chickpeas in range of 350-470 USD PMT, which can be used as an Alternate of Desi chickpeas for making flour after paying 44% duty on this imported white chickpeas. So you can say it is not actual demand of white chickpeas for direct food consumption. So any white chickpeas which are not in range of 350-470 USD pmt will be not feasible for Indian market as per today situation.

First, as I mentioned Ukraine has a huge potential on farm level, they grow different varities of seeds, but in many cases, I saw they mix many varieties of seeds at time of harvest or may be processors. So at farm level seeds should not to be mixed or either at processors plants.

At processors & traders level, my suggestion is not to sale chickpeas like yellow peas! Chickpeas are premium product of pulses industry, try to sale clean, sortex, sized, bagged product i/o farmer dressed. Ukraine traders and exporters need to be more professional and understand international trade terms. Kirill Mikhaylov of ETG and other participants in the debate have confirmed that despite the best efforts of manufacturers, Ukrainian peas is still considered less quality and discounted the buyer, even though it is not. This is one of the issues that exporters still need to work on.

The last panel was devoted to the problems of production and logistics in the face of worsening weather and economic conditions, as well as quarantine. Manufacturers and infrastructure representatives shared their experiences and it was so exciting that for the first time in my memory the conference participants stayed in the hall until the end. At Ukrainian pulses conference sponsors know what they support.

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