Australian mungbeans have captured the attention of buyers in Asia and the Indian sub-continent, with particular interest in Australia’s large, shiny green mungbean variety, Jade-AU.
Australian green mungbean are in high demand on the global market as a direct consequence of Australia’s preferred supplier status in several key markets.
James Hunt, Australian Choice Exports says this is a hard-won status that the industry must hold fast, maintaining the high quality standards that the world has come to associate with the Australian product.
“Even in high production years the Australian mungbean crop has not suffered a price penalty, simply because the market sees that we have a superior product to offer,” he says. “When we compete in the lower grade markets the price falls accordingly and is more affected by global supplies.”
According to Mr Hunt, the Australian Mungbean Association has played an important role in setting standards and guiding the industry to aim for the high quality product. “The grading of our mungbean crop into No. 1, processing and manufacturing grades allows growers to maximise their returns,” he says. “This value-adding to the Australian crop before export means we are putting our best quality into the highest returning markets and this re-affirms our preferred origin status.”
The supply chain traceability of the Australian mungbean product from grower declarations from the farm, through to the laboratory-quantifiable grading system makes our value-adding chain highly accountable, something that buyers regard highly.
“It is very important that the mungbean industry not lose any ground in terms of quality standards as the industry will suffer immensely if we were to go back to treating mungbean as a bulk commodity without value-adding in Australia,” he says. “There is no doubt that other countries are watching what we do and maintaining our competitive advantage will require continued commitment to on-going improvements in our quality systems.”
The area contracts available to growers through packing plants have no risk attached as all quality grades will be accepted and the relevant contracted price paid on delivery. This means that even if the season is not favourable and crops do not meet the tonnage, quality or delivery timing hoped for, the mungbeans produced will be accepted at the relevant contract price.
Mr Hunt is expecting the price to the grower to come back to around $1000/mt for processing grade, slightly back on the record high levels of last year but still very competitive against other summer crop options. He suggests growers could use this figure as a conservative return for budgeting purposes.
“Last season the prices held up right through the season from March to May, with all stocks sold,” he says. “Sentiment for the coming season is very positive and the Australian crop has the advantage of being the first harvested. The global price for our next season crop may be influenced by the size of the damaged Indonesian crop, due to be harvested in August–September, and the hard-to-ascertain size of the Chinese crop.”
“China is the world’s largest consumer of mungbean and second largest producer,” says Mr Hunt. “Last year there was considerable interest from China and this is clearly a valuable market for Australia, particularly in years of lower production in China.”
With increasing grower confidence and the global market outlook remaining positive for mungbean, the industry expects further expansion in the sown area in 2016–17. Australian Mungbean Association president, Robert Anderson is encouraging growers to order seed and crop inputs early.
“The Australian Mungbean Association Pre-Season Roadshow will start in Moura, Central Queensland on 23 August and conclude in Dubbo on 12 October to assist growers and agronomists to make the most of the 2016–17 season,” he said. “We encourage new and existing growers to attend the Roadshow meetings and to seek out an AMA Accredited Agronomist servicing their local area.”
More information: Contact Paul McIntosh (0429 566 198) to register for the Roadshow or check www.mungbean.org.au.