Australian Mungbean Association

Australian-grown mungbeans have quality written all over them!

Marketing mungbeans

The mungbean marketing system is unique, particularly in comparison with those used for other pulse and grain crops. To be successful growers need to understand the mungbean consumers’ fundamental requirements, including:

  • Consumers purchase mungbeans based on physical appearance.
  • The marketing of mungbeans to other countries is not unlike marketing our vegetable crops in Australia. The buyer places a high degree of emphasis on product familiarity, appearance and quality. These markets also tend to be highly volatile, reflecting changes in supply and demand.

If the Australian mungbean crop were to be accumulated as one bulk commodity, the whole crop would be downgraded to the lowest quality, resulting in lower returns for the majority of mungbean growers.

World mungbean prices are largely determined by both the volume of production and quality of the crops in China and Burma, and as a result are constantly responding to supply issues in these exporting countries. Price trends usually become obvious in December when harvest of the Chinese crop nears completion and both the volume and quality of production in that country is more apparent.

Mungbeans are classified into three main grades:

  • no. 1 processing grade beans
  • processing grade beans
  • manufacturing.

Less than 5% of the total mungbean crop goes into the sprouting market. Processing grade is a broad classification for beans. Prices can vary by as much as $150 per tonne at any time of the year for beans within this broad processing grade classification depending on appearance and quality, i.e. whether good or poor quality processing grade. This is the reason why many choose to market their goods on a sample basis rather than on quality grades

Growers should consult their local Australian Mungbean Association member for the latest prices and marketing information.

Communicate with your AMA member regarding potential grading losses and costs involved in grading and storing your product prior to sale. Refer to the AMA Code of practice for grading sheds.

Growers should develop a sound working relationship with their AMA member and trust that they will do the best for the grower.

Grower commodity declarations are required by packing sheds to maintain high levels of hygiene and food safety within the Australian mungbean industry. The information provided on the forms is the basis of an industry-wide quality assurance scheme that is a significant advantage in marketing the Australian mungbean crop to overseas and domestic buyers.

The AMA is the peak industry body representing mungbean growers and marketers in Australia.


Marketing options

Growers have a range of marketing options available to sell their products. AMA Registered Processing Establishments offer a variety of contracting options. You can discuss which option best suits your situation with any of these members.

Because most mungbeans can only be effectively priced after grading is completed, a degree of trust is needed. It is very important to establish a sound relationship and understanding with your preferred marketer.

Some producers choose to market their mungbeans after harvest. Others prefer to enter into a hectare contract, which usually offers the comfort of having a floor in the price. When signing any contract it is very important to make yourself aware of all terms and conditions, including costs associated with grading, drying, storage, bagging etc.


Competition between processing establishments

The AMA believes the current competition between the Registered Processing Establishment members for your mungbeans is healthy and good for producers.

There are many factors which can affect the price of your mungbeans and an honest assessment will benefit you in the long run. There are registered laboratories that supply quality certificates on machine-cleaned product.

The AMA has established a Code of Practice for its Registered Processing Establishment members, giving producers even more protection against lesser qualified or unscrupulous processors who operate outside these guidelines.


Price variations explained

There is usually strong demand from a range of countries for processing mungbeans. While some countries will accept a lower (weather/insect damaged) quality product, others demand higher quality beans. The price buyers will pay, depends on the appearance of the product, which can vary considerably depending on climatic conditions and how the beans have been machine cleaned. There can be large variations in prices realised within grades, depending on which end of the scale the beans sit at and the supply and demand factors of any given season.


Causes of high grade out or grading losses

The Registered Processing Establishments are responsible for ensuring that all mungbeans are graded to the highest purity and meet the hygiene standard as prescribed in the AMA Export Standards.

There is a range of agronomic and handling issues that will have a significant impact on grading losses incurred at the Registered Processing Establishment. Addressing the issues listed below will help reduce losses:

  • minimise contamination by soil during harvest
  • Insect damaged grain
  • Weather damaged grain
  • Cracked grain during harvesting and handling
  • Damage from inadequate or non-aerated storage (mouldy, bin-burnt grain)
  • Uneven crop maturity (green beans and vegetative matter in sample)
  • Damage and/or contamination by carriers during transport
  • Rejectable weed seeds (Stramonium, sorghum, wheat, barley, etc.).

There are certified agronomists in your area who can work with you to minimise in-crop damage and improve the quality of your product. You can obtain contact details of the full list of certified agronomists.


Expenses incurred during processing and exporting

Standard expenses include:

  • Weighbridge fees
  • Cleaning and grading
  • Bags, bagging and packing of export containers.

What other expenses may be incurred?

  • Pre-cleaning to extract soil, excess pod material and/or weed seeds
  • Fumigation for live insect such as bruchids
  • Drying or aeration of product with high or inconsistent moisture (above 13%)
  • Storage costs if mungbeans are held for long periods.

Registered Processing Establishments listed by the AMA will provide you with estimates of the above costs prior to delivery.

Laboratory costs may also be incurred where a seed line needs to be tested for charcoal rot or for bacterial contamination with Salmonella or E. coli.


Export markets

Mungbeans are often sold into speciality vegetable markets. These have very specific and different marketing requirements to those used for bulk traded commodities such as cereals.

A great deal of the export success of the Australian mungbean industry can be attributed to the careful and strict measures the industry has undertaken to supply the highest quality product. Australian mungbeans are currently regarded as the most hygienic and safest available.

Most mungbeans are graded, and marketed through Registered Processing Establishments because of their knowledge and understanding of the international marketplace.

It is important to recognise that overseas buyers usually prefer to take delivery over an extended period to suit their pattern of usage. Because of this, Australia’s total mungbean production can take six months or more to grade, bag and export. While this can be frustrating, it is of benefit to the industry to offer a spread delivery to overseas buyers.

If producers require prompt shipment and payment, they should notify their chosen Registered Processing Establishment of this prior to delivery. It should be noted immediate shipment and payment could have an adverse effect on values, particularly if there are large quantities being offered into the marketplace at that time.

Australia's main export markets are:

  • The Middle East – large and small green beans
  • Indian Sub-continent – large and small green beans
  • Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Philippines – large green beans
  • Taiwan – dull seeded, Regur and large green beans
  • USA/Canada – Sprouting, cooking beans, premium small beans and Regur
  • UK/Europe – Sprouting, cooking beans, premium small beans, dull seeded and Regur.

China, Burma and India are the main producers on the world market. Smaller scale exporters include Vietnam, Indonesia and Iran.


Hygienic production and handling

Mungbeans have very strict hygiene requirements as over 95% of Australian production is used for human consumption often with no further processing or heat treatment.

Bacterial contamination with Salmonella and E. coli at any stage of growing, harvesting, handling or storage of the crop can result in serious cases of food poisoning and possible human mortality.

Under Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) regulations, all mungbeans destined for export must be cleaned and packaged at a Registered Mungbean Processing Establishment and handled in accordance with the Industry Code of Hygienic Practice. This is an enforceable, inspectable and auditable process designed to maintain the integrity of the health regulations relating to the product.

All harvesting and handling equipment used on farm and during transport to the Registered Processing Establishment also falls under the Code of Hygienic Practice. Growers are responsible for meeting the requirements of the Code relating to harvesting, handling and transportation activities. These activities are recorded on the Grower Commodity Declaration Form, which is also available from all Registered Processing Establishments.


Mungbean quality standards

When marketing mungbeans a high emphasis is placed on appearance such as colour, lustre and levels of wrinkled beans. Processors and exporters all spot market product individually.

The Australian Mungbean Association has developed both receival standards and quality classifications to assist growers, processors and exporters to understand the various market requirements. Before the formation of the AMA, mungbeans were usually sold on the basis of small individual samples being dispatched to a potential buyer overseas prior to confirmation of the sale. This slow process has now been replaced through the implementation of a classification system to aid sale by description.

When classifying a sample on appearance, it is compared to a standard / base sample set by the AMA annually, following a set procedure to ensure uniformity from one year to the next. All registered sheds and AMA approved seed testing laboratories are issued with these samples.

The machine-dressed mungbean standard is updated as required.


AMA-Accredited Processing Establishments Code of Practice

Producer confidence in both the production and marketing of mungbean is crucial for the continued growth of the Australian mungbean industry.

In order to build producer confidence, the Australian Mungbean Association (AMA) encourages uniformity within the packing and marketing processes. The implementation of a Code of Practice for AMA Registered Mungbean Processing Establishment members supports this.

AMA Registered Processing Establishments seek to provide growers with vital marketing information and a premium service. You should expect to receive information concerning the likely grade and price range for your product and details of processing costs and payment options. In addition, your marketer should provide an indication of the time it may take to market your product and the effect of market influences on the sale.

Registered Mungbean Processing Establishments offer the following assurances under the Code of Practice:

 • A schedule of fees

 • Realistic assessment of likely price and quality on delivery

 • A grading report after cleaning

 • Minimised deterioration in storage

 • Financing options

 • Grower commodity declaration


Schedule of fees

Your AMA Registered Processing Establishment will provide you with a clear schedule of fees. This will enable you to identify your operational cost structure and give a better indication of net returns that are likely to be achieved.

It will set out fees for:

  • weighbridge
  • cleaning and grading
  • bags, bagging and packing of containers.

It may also set out fees for:

  • fumigation for insects
  • storage
  • a laboratory analysis report
  • drying or aeration if above 13% moisture
  • pre-cleaning.


Realistic assessment of likely price and quality on delivery

Your AMA Registered Processing Establishment will offer a realistic appraisal of price and quality of your mungbeans at the time of delivery.

It is important that samples submitted for appraisal are a true and representative sample of the whole line.

In many cases the producer is responsible for the costs associated with grading, bagging, testing and other costs incurred, as listed on the schedule of fees.

By having your sample appraised at an AMA Registered Processing Establishment you will be accessing a network of expertise, including standardised samples and current market information. Prices can fluctuate over time depending on currency variations and the supply and demand situation.


Grading report after cleaning

Upon completion of grading, your AMA Registered Processing Establishment will supply a grading report that should be comprehensive and easy to understand. It will also identify the lot or line number that has been allocated at grading.

A grading report should contain the following information:

  • receival date
  • receival weight
  • clean seed (graded) weight
  • gradings (saleable offal) (tonnage and percentage)
  • trash (non saleable offal) (tonnage and percentage)

Additional general comments may also be provided in the grading report.


Minimising deterioration in storage

Your AMA Registered Processing Establishment will handle your mungbeans in accordance with accepted AMA standards. This can include the use of aerated silos and soft handling techniques, such as conveyor belts.

They will have a documented pest management program in place. These procedures are designed to minimise deterioration in storage and handling, and maximise returns to the grower.


Financing options

Prior to delivery, your AMA Registered Processing Establishment will provide you with a realistic time-frame for the sale of and payment for your crop. The time-line will include the following events:

  • Intake receival date – Agreement of when you can deliver into store
  • Storage prior to grading – Estimated time in storage until grading
  • Grading and packaging – Time taken to process your line
  • Sale date – Explanation of current market forces and the likely marketing program and sale date
  • Payment options will be made clear to you. These may include:
  1. - Payments linked directly to the completion of sale
  2. - There is to be a part of payment prior to sale of product.
  3. - Prompt payment regardless of the sale date.

If payment is likely to be delayed, the packaging establishment will provide an appropriate range of financial options or refer you to an appropriate finance broker.

Working directly with an AMA Registered Processing Establishment in the marketing of your product will assist with your budgeting, cash-flow and decision making. It also builds a stronger, more stable and sustainable mungbean industry.

The practice of growers or other marketers trading from the packer’s store destabilises the relationship between growers and packers, ultimately undermining the confidence in the industry structure.


Grower  commodity declaration

Your AMA Registered Processing Establishment will provide you with a ‘Grower Commodity Declaration’ form to complete. Grower declarations providing traceability and accountability of the product and help to maintain the clean, green image of Australia’s mungbean industry. This assists with the marketing of your crop and provides growers with some protection against litigation.


Complying AMA Accredited Processing Establishments

Producers who have concerns about any aspects of the industry or wish to discuss or clarify any disputed issue concerning an AMA member are encouraged to contact the AMA.