Following the current global trend and growing demand for pulses, for several recent years Ukrainian agrarians started paying more attention to the production of the crops, especially for the further exports. In addition, the Public Association “Community Of Pulse Producers And Customers Of Ukraine” (SPPBU) promotes the active production and consumption of pulses and its by-products among the Ukrainian population. The association was founded in 2015 to unite the involved market participants around one of the most important issues in the agro-industrial complex of Ukraine — development of the pulses market segment.
The President of SPPBU, Antonina Sklyarenko agreed to share her opinion on the situation on the market of pulses in Ukraine, as well as forecasts for a new season, to APK-Inform journalists.
— The world started increasing attention to pulses. As a result, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated February 10 of each year as the World Pulses Day. The event has a significant message for all farmers in the world about the value of pulses in ensuring of the global food security. What are the positions of Ukraine in the world as the producer and exporter of pulses?
Ukraine plays rather important role in the world, we annually produce nearly 1 mln tonnes of pulses, and we can even increase the production volumes. But there are several factors, which are not always in our favour. Indeed, pulses play rather important role in ensuring of the food security in the world, and in the current year the global community celebrated the Pulses Day for the first time, but now every year we will pay more attention to the issue.
— In the previous interview to APK-Inform in March 2018, discussing the trends of 2017/18 MY and the prospects of 2018/19 MY, You expressed the opinion that the planted areas under peas will reduce, due to the complex situation with price forming. At the same time, You expected for the upward trend concerning the other pulses — chickpeas, lentils and beans. Did Your expectations and forecasts come true?
Yes, we really expected for the growth trend, and it happened. But the harvested volumes did not satisfy anyone. The year was rather difficult:
— Unfortunately, the climatic conditions were unfavourable. There were almost no moisture reserves in the soil, because of the very rapid change from cold to heat.
— Global prices: they lowered to the minimum level.
And when we add these two factors — price drop + crop failure, we get the reporting negative factors. The similar situation developed in 2014, when the price of chickpeas totaled 400 USD/t, and in 2015 it reached 500 USD/t, and then it grew every year. 2016 and 2017 were the peak years for the prices, when the profitability reached 300%. But the situation cannot always continue in the reporting trend. Of course, pulses have both successful years, and less successful ones.
But beans demonstrated quite stable growth both in terms of prices and the impact of weather conditions on the whole growing process.
— As for the results of pulses export trading in the season-2018/19, how would You rate them? According to APK-Inform analysts, the exports demonstrated the record rates.
Pulses are mainly grown for the following exports. It is quite obvious, because the production increased in 2 times, and the exports — up 3.5 times.
As for the exports in the season-2017/18 and 2018/19 MY, the supplies confidently decreased. The trend developed, due to the situation in India.
India always was the No. 1 player for Ukraine, and previously we exported the major volumes of produced pulses to the country. After imposition of limitations by the country, the market activities somewhat slowed down. We expect that after the elections in India in late April 2019, the country can again "open up the doors" for Ukrainian pulses.
— Which countries did become the main buyers of Ukrainian pulses in 2018/19 MY?
In the current season, the European Union, followed by India, Turkey and Bangladesh, became the main importers of Ukrainian pulses.
— What are the positions of India and Pakistan as the main countries-importers?
India plans to increase the imports of pulses, because in the current year Indian agrarians reduced the planted areas under the reporting crops. The moisture reserves in the country was insufficient, and India will need to buy more peas and lentils. India should keep the buffer stocks of 1 mln tonnes on the domestic market.
As for Pakistan, in the season-2019/20 the country will keep the import volumes at the level of the current year.
— What new sales markets did Ukraine open in 2018/19 MY? What regions do have potential and interest in Ukrainian pulses?
In the current year, Yemen, Bangladesh, Myanmar are the new markets for us. In the season-2019/20, Kuwait will come to this list, as several local companies already entered the Ukrainian market and plan to purchase large-scale volumes of pulses.
— Taking into account the trends of 2018/19 MY on the pulses market, would Your share Your expectations and forecasts on the prospects of production in 2019?
As for Ukraine, in the season-2019/20 we expect for decreasing in the production of pulses, due to several above-mentioned factors. And the global production will also decrease in the current year. In the current season, Canada is cutting down its production of lentils and peas, in terms of the large-scale carry-over stocks.
For 2 recent years, Kazakhstan produced large-scale volumes on the market, thereby lowering the global prices.
But in the current year, we will consume all the remains and stocks, and in the following season we will face a deficit of pulses!
— The Ministry of Agrarian Policy forecasted a fairly significant reduction of the planted areas under peas — to 347 thsd ha, against 431 thsd ha in 2018. What are Your forecasts?
We agree with the forecasts of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy concerning the reduction of the planted areas under peas in 2019. The trend is mainly caused by the fall of prices.
Interviewed by Elena Cherednichenko, APK-Inform Agency