São Paulo – In June, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) will launch a cowpea beans seed that is suited to the external market, especially to Asian countries such as India and China, and to Egypt. The research work for this cultivar, called BRS Imponente, begun eight years ago and at the end of this year it should be planted in Brazilian crops. The grains should be available for export next year, according to Embrapa Products and Markets’ market manager Rafael Vivian.
The manager explains that in its genetic improvement program, Embrapa takes into account desirable market features. The BRS Imponente can also be traded and consumed in the Brazilian market, but it was developed with a focus on external purchases and taste. The grain is lighter in color, the hilum is light brown, less shiny, rougher and less oval than the one consumed in Brazil. According to Vivian, the protein level is at 23%, higher than the bean consumed in the Brazilian market.
“There’s an identified demand in the external market”, says the manager. The production of the new cultivar should boost even more Brazil’s exports of cowpea beans, although the country already exports the traditional cowpea beans. Last year, 2,600 tons were shipped abroad. In 2014, it was 435 tons. The buyers of the Brazilian product are countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, Israel, China and India.
According to Vivian, in the new cultivar’s target countries, cowpea beans are consumed in a variety of ways. It’s used a lot to produce flour. With this flour, Asians and Egyptians make hamburgers, for instance. The beans flour replaces the meat, since the product is very high in protein. It’s also consumed as a type of soup.
Currently, Embrapa has an ongoing process to put the product in the market. A public notice will select two companies that will be responsible for the insertion of the BRS Imponente in the market. The companies selected will hire seed multipliers that later will be sold to the farmers. The focus should be Mato Grosso, since BRS Imponente was developed for this state’s climate and soil conditions. The seed was also validated for Pará but the state doesn’t have a large-scale production for exporting.
The companies that will be responsible for the seed’s marketing don’t need to be based in Mato Grosso, but the state should be the focus of multiplication and production. Registrations for the public notice are open until this Thursday (22). Embrapa’s estimations indicate that the new seeds will be ready to be cultivated by the farmers at the end of this year.
*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani