December 14, 2012
The ladies were harvesting mung beans cultivated in rural area in Bangladesh
Using the support structures created by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Yukiguni Maitake Co., Ltd. has succeed large-scale mung bean production in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, importing the first crop of harvested mung beam on Monday, December 10 for bean sprout production in Japan.
Japan is dependent on imports primarily from China for nearly 100 percent of the mung beans it consumes, and as with other grains, the soaring prices of food around the world in recent years has resulted in a steep increase in mung bean prices. Given those circumstances, in July 2011, Yukiguni Maitake established a joint venture named Grameen Yukiguni Maitake Ltd. with Kyushu University and the Grameen Krishi Foundation of the Grameen Group which is built around Grameen Bank, the first time for Japanese company to form a joint venture with Grameen Krishi Foundation, aiming to ensure a steady supply of mung beans through cultivation diversification and to raise the income of the BoP (base of the pyramid) segment in Bangladesh. Through this joint venture, the agricultural communities with a large poor segment have been working to create a social business through mung bean cultivation. 
Responding to a JETRO call for a "Demonstration Program for Trade Development" in fiscal 2010, Yukiguni Maitake was selected for the "Bangladesh: Bean Sprout Seeds Project" to support efforts to develop and improve products in developing countries for import to Japan, and subsequently conducted pilot cultivation of mung beans in Bangladesh. Responding also to JICA's Preparatory Survey for Base of the Pyramid (BoP) Business Promotion announced in March 2011, Yukiguni Maitake was selected for the "Preparatory survey on BOP business on development of production systems for green mung bean", and by December 2013 the Preparatory Survey will be conducted with focus on a market survey in Bangladesh and an establishment of instruction methods for farmers' cultivation skill development.
Mung beans suitable for bean sprout will be exported to Japan and the remains will be consumed in Bangladesh.
By cultivating mung beans with its own management, Yukiguni Maitake is able to eliminate soil contamination and other risks and ensure a stable supply of high-quality mung bean sprouts.
Also, farmers in Bangladesh acquire technical skills for cultivating high-quality mung beans, allowing them to improve their unit crop yield and quality, which leads to higher incomes. Currently about 7,500 contracted farmers are involved, and this number is expected to grow. Of the mung bean sprouts harvested, the joint venture company exports 60 percent to Japan, purchased by Yukiguni Maitake, and sells the remaining 40 percent to farmers in Bangladesh at low prices, improving the nutrition of the local people. All of the profits of the joint venture company are planned to go to the promotion of social business in Bangladesh and for assistance to poor farmers.
The mung beans exported to Japan are expected to go on sale as sprouts next spring. Also, in the next fiscal year, the scale of the production is planned for expansion, which is expected to provide more farmers with the benefits of the project.