ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bihari-Burmese and the Pulse Trade

During my stay from 27 February to 3 March 2014 in Myanmar (Burma), I met several traders dealing in pulse export. My interest stemmed from the fact that India has a huge deficit in pulses even as it has a surplus in cereals. From an article published by Gurushri Swamy (“Will Indians Stop Eating Pulses”, Journal of Social and Economic Development, Vol 14, No 12, July-December 2012, pp 238-48), I knew that India imports pulses from Myanmar. All of the traders I met were from Bihar and they revealed to me that they are mostly Koeris. They have a village consisting of 500 people, about 150 kms from Yangon/Rangoon. They are all small farmers and some are also traders. They were very hospitable and soon became my friends. Later in the afternoon we sang old Raj Kapoor’s songs from famous movies like Tisari Kasam, Jis Desh Me Ganga Bahati Hai and Ram Teri Ganga Maili.

They also showed me their newly-built warehouses, well stocked with pulses. The area where the warehouses are built is near Yangon and that locale was deve­loped as an industrial area in the past two years. The warehouses and present investment trend in agriculture demonstrate that Myanmar is going to become a major exporting nation in rice and pulses. The country is a land-surplus country with ample water resources. Protein-deficit India will benefit a lot from developing a healthy trade and cultural relationship with Myanmar.

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