For the first time, China’s imports of legumes from India exceed $100 million

China stopped buying legumes like kidney beans and Kabuli Chana (chickpea) from India in recent years to meet growing demand. In FY2022-23, China emerged as the largest buyer of Indian legumes, edging out the United Arab Emirates, with the import value exceeding US$100 million for the first time.

APEDA data shows that China’s imports of Indian legumes were US$102.41 million in April-January 2022-23, up from US$89.03 million in the entire 2021-22 period, a growth of 15 percent is equivalent to. During that period, India’s total legume exports rose to US$476 million, up 25 percent from US$379 million in the previous fiscal year.

Chinese purchases of Indian legumes in substantial quantities, which began during the Covid pandemic, have continued and multiplied in recent years. The export volume of legumes from India to China has quintupled in the last four years, while in value they have more than tripled in the last three years.

change eating habits

“In recent years, China has become a very large consumer of legumes. Their dietary habits are changing and consumption is increasing every year,” said Harsha Rai, Vice President – ​​Sales at Mayur Global Corporation, an international legume broker.

Rai said China, which used to produce Light Speckled Kidney Beans (LSKB) ( Rajma-Chitra) formerly to India, has now turned to an importer. China has been importing LSKB from India for two years. At the same time, India has turned to source countries like Brazil to meet its demand for LSKB, Rai said.

The Chinese have also stepped up their purchases Kabuli Chana from India, which they used to buy from Turkey. In addition, Rai said that Chinese demand for the Indian cowpeas, especially the orange variety grown in the Mysore region, has surged during the pandemic period. China has bought all kinds of legumes including mung beans from all origins, she added.

Lower duty

APEDA Chairman M. Angamuthu said China charges lower import tariffs on legumes compared to other countries. The production of legumes in India has increased steadily in recent years, which supports the export of some varieties.

India is the world’s largest producer, consumer and importer of legumes. India’s total production of legumes has increased from around 18.3 million tonnes in 2012-13 to around 27.81 million tonnes in 2022-23, according to the second preliminary estimate released by the Ministry of Agriculture in mid-February. A shortage in the production of legumes such as tur (pigeon pea) and urad due to climate issues has forced the government to keep imports for these varieties open until March 2024.

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