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There is new demand in nontraditional markets around the world, including Turkey and Northern Africa.

March 5, 2019

2 Min Read
spoonful of black beans in wooden spoon
NEW INTEREST: Recent developments in the ongoing conflict in Venezuela have increased optimism for shippers looking to export to that region. BHOFACK2/gettyimages

Despite the challenging global trade climate, demand for U.S. dry beans has surfaced in nontraditional markets, resulting in some optimism, according to the Michigan Bean Shippers.

"There is recent interest in navy beans from some nontraditional areas such as Turkey and Northern Africa, and sales opportunities continue to expand in South America." says Rob Chandonnet with Bayside Best Beans. "Even with the EU’s 25% import tariff, we’re still shipping navies to the EU, but not at levels in the past, and the world supply and demand is changing as Canada steps in to fill some of that EU void."

Retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dry beans have caused significant uncertainty for Michigan growers and shippers headed toward 2019 planting. The European Union’s 25% import tariff forced the industry to keep products in storage. Despite these disruptions, there is new demand for dry beans in other parts of the world.

"There is steady demand for black beans and small reds," says Matt Stawowy, with Steele & Company. “The world is hungry, and we are learning of unique demands in many different regions, particularly in South and Central America."

Recent developments in the ongoing conflict in Venezuela have increased optimism for shippers looking to export to that region. Venezuela traditionally has been a major consumer of black beans. 

“International food aid agencies are already buying and ‘prepositioning’ supplies to help the Venezuelan people,” Chandonnet says. “This is potentially a major humanitarian crisis, and black beans will be part of the aid packages. If the government stabilizes there, demand for black beans will be significant and urgent.”

There also were rumors early in the winter that farmers in North Dakota were planning to plant a significant number of acres of black beans, but recent strength in pinto bean prices suggests growers in that region may plant fewer acres of black beans than previously anticipated. 

"These opportunities for trade in nontraditional markets may bode well for Michigan growers and dry bean shippers,” says Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Bean Shippers. “The important message for Michigan farmers is that all is not lost when it comes to dry bean opportunities.”

“It is important for growers to discuss their planting intentions with their dry bean buyers and learn more about the current situation,” Byrum adds. “Dry beans are important to the Thumb and Saginaw Valley’s agriculture sector, and 2019 opportunities are looking brighter than they did just a few months ago.”

Source: Michigan Dry Bean Shippers Association, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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