British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA)

BEPA is the trade association representing the processors and users of British-produced pulse (mainly combining peas and field beans) crops. BEPA’s key objectives are to liaise with UK government and other national and international associations, & encourage the consumption of home-produced pulses by promoting their value as healthy, high-protein and high-fibre foods, and to liaise with crop scientists and plant breeders.

Franek Smith, President with Lewis Cottey, Vice PresidentOur website brings you the history of BEPA, contact information for all our members, BEPA in the press and media, the latest pulse market prices, and an introduction to the many end uses for UK-produced pulses.

We also give details of the main BEPA contacts - if you would like to know more about BEPA, and the important role pulses play in the UK's agricultural and food sectors, please ask us!

Franek Smith, President with Lewis Cottey, Vice-President.

British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA)
Future BEPA & PGRO Events and selected UK/EU eventsFuture BEPA & PGRO Events
and selected UK/EU events

LATEST NEWS FROM BEPA

THE DEMAND FOR BEANS IN THE UK DOMESTIC MARKET HAS BEEN EXCELLENT OVER RECENT MONTHS

“For the last 2 months the UK market has been relatively uneventful with very little to report,” comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. “Their have been few if any farm sellers of any remaining 2016 crop beans and, as a result, some imports were necessary to fulfil short sale obligations in the trade. The demand for beans in the UK domestic market has been excellent over recent months and has apparently taken up any increase in availability produced.

“UK peas are starting to harvest in the south of the country. Typically, after a very dry cool spring, the weather at the point of harvest has turned catchy. It remains to be seen how this will affect quality. Particularly that of blue and marrowfat peas — the harvest timing of which is so critical to the retention of visual quality.”

Franek Smith, President of BEPA, reports Canadian pea exporters are forecasting a rise in sales to India and Bangladesh but are also anticipating a fall in prices — though their yellow peas may still have a small premium over greens and a small reduction in yellow pea production in 2017/18.

Pea production the USA is also predicted to fall significantly, although they continue to develop their export markets.

The Egyptian economy has experienced turmoil for many months and this resulted in significant reductions in UK exports last autumn. The currency was revalued in October, devaluing from around 10 EGP/GBP to almost 25 EGP/GBP in a couple of weeks, whilst it has stabilised a little still fluctuates over 23 EGP/GBP. The economy is reported on the mend (http://www.focus-economics.com/countries/egypt), and restrictions on foreign exchange transfers have been lifted, international reserves being substantially higher than a year ago. This should make it easier for firms to import. However, inflation is eroding purchasing power and unemployment is high. Egypt remains a tough place to do business – and not without significant risk.

There will be demand for exports of Human Consumption Beans as soon as the new crop comes available. Especially into the smaller Sudanese market where there is reportedly little or no carry over of stocks. That said, with feed bean values having exceeded £185/t in recent weeks following the lack of availability in the UK, the expectations of the sellers and buyers vis-a-vis the same time last year might take some resolving - especially as a premium will be sought for top quality samples.

With little trade in Feed Beans at present, the new crop not yet in, and little immediate requirement for the feed market - it appears to be a game of wait and see. Market prices have slipped a little from the highs driven by the lack of availability of recent weeks peaking around £189/t ex. As a reminder, September feed bean prices in 2016 were significantly lower at around £142/t. It remains to be seen how competitive feed beans will need to be to compete with other protein sources post-harvest. Buyers in the feed market will be keen to secure availability throughout the season - but also anxious to ensure they keep a competitive edge - so it is likely prices will come under pressure. If trading takes place at a £20 premium to September wheat, values may reach £170/t ex farm.

The predicted large carry over of Marrowfat Peas did materialise and this hangs over the market. It remains to be seen what impact the falling prices had upon plantings 2017 and the best indication will come as the new crop comes to the market. Although a 40% reduction in crop area was anticipated by the trade, it may take a further 12 months for the supply and demand to become more in balance. The first few crops in south of the country have already been harvested and the early indications are of good quality and yields. Off contract crops of the very best quality may fetch £225/t ex if required over and above merchants existing commitments.

The quality of Large Blue Peas is predominantly about the retention of good colour and visual appearance. The three market sectors for blue peas in order of decreasing value are export and grocery quality, micronising, and decortication/feed. Top quality blue peas are currently commanding circa £205/t ex, with the lower end of the market at circa £170/t ex. Early indications are that yields are significantly better than 2016 with limited reports all well over 5 tonnes per hectare.

Early harvest yields for Yellow Peas look promising and early trades have taken place at a new market level of £175/t ex farm. Unsurprisingly, as supply picks up prices are down on the peak of £250/t reported at the extreme short position a few weeks ago.

With higher yields and a perceived uptake in crop area, yellow pea availability looks to be improving locally. Growers would be wise to consider operating on a contract.

UK PULSES ON THE HIGH SEAS

Nigel and Vicky Sutton of NS Shipping LtdNigel and Vicky Sutton of NS Shipping Ltd describe an important part of the pulse supply chain - shipping UK-grown beans to our overseas markets.

One of the key features of a family run business like NS Shipping is our reliance on excellent working relationships and an effective carefully selected supply chain. Building of such relationships particularly with exporters of pulses has been the result of more than 30 years of teamwork.

The popularity of pulses for export has been ever-increasing as they have been part of the staple diet in many overseas countries for centuries. For example, in the Middle East and North Africa, faba beans are used as the basic ingredient of many dishes and indeed act as the main ingredient for the national dish of Egypt.

We are certainly beginning to see more encouragement to use home grown pulses in the UK which will see a rise in popularity particularly since we are all striving for improved health. At the same time, the popularity of UK-grown pulses overseas continues to be evident within my business. During 2015-2017, UK exports handled by NS Shipping were as follows:

 DESTINATIONS

 2015-2016

 2016-2017

    NO OF TUES (20FT CONTAINERS)
   
 UK to Egypt & East Mediterranean  1211  1656
 UK to Port Sudan & Middle East  323  875
 UK to Asia  209  305

Excellent supply chains are a key ingredient of successful exporting. The relationships we share with the exporters are equal to that we share with the shipping lines and indeed all within our supply chain. As with any industry, price is a driving force - but there is so much more to ensuring a seamless process.

Current difficult market conditions within the industry are proving a challenge for all. The recent collapse of one of the major shipping lines has had an influence on changes within the industry. Services have been suspended or reduced resulting in unprecedented increase in rates.

This is where we believe our relationships with all parties within our supply chain are crucial. Having flexibility to adapt to UK conditions such as we have seen in recent months; large increases in rates, equipment shortages and space problems means we can find the very best option and provide solutions.

There are a lot of factors in addition to those discussed to consider prior to the container being successfully loaded on board a vessel. Time sensitive deliveries, adherence to new SOLAS regulations (VGM), customs clearance and accurate documentation. Only with an excellent knowledge of market conditions and potential impacts on the global shipping industry can we meet all of these requirements.

UK PULSES ON THE HIGH SEAS - shipping UK-grown beans to our overseas markets

As noted, pulse exports are often time sensitive. Deadlines for arrival of containers have to be considered. Vessels and routes have to be carefully selected. Timing is especially vital during peak seasons when loading schedules are full and containers are loaded every 45 minutes from dawn to dusk. Additional factors can also impact on loading schedules such as breakdowns, rejected containers and bad weather. Delays during loading can result in containers missing deadlines for delivery of container to quay resulting in short-shipment.

Following the introduction of SOLAS regulations, each container weight has to be accurately entered directly onto the port website in order to successfully access the quay. Any inaccuracies can also result in short-shipment. There are some factors that are unavoidable - however, in an effort to reduce delays, we have implemented systems such as direct contact with drivers, VGM checking system and container tracking as being aware of problems provides an opportunity to find solutions.

Currently we are maintaining close contact with all of our suppliers in order to gauge the changes to the market closely and enable us to provide the most efficient and cost effective solutions for the new season. With new shipping line alliances and introduction of new routes due to begin midsummer we are hopeful that the market will begin to settle.

We are navigating our way through very interesting and challenging times within the global shipping industry. We are pleased to continue our relationships and work closely with many pulse exporters and seek to develop our relationships further in the years to come. Together we can continue to be prepared to react to market changes and continue to successfully export our home-grown UK pulses.