Myanmar’s rice exports have been falling over the past year, and the government is upping efforts to diversify its markets and reduce costs to better compete with other exporting countries.
The Myanmar Rice Federation has asked its member companies to consider cooperative exports to increase rice trade. The federation urged its members to work together for exporting rice through government-to-government agreements and cooperative exports, under an arrangement with the Federation. Member companies wishing to participate in the initiative have been asked to apply by March-end, according to the federation.
“To boost rice exports, MRF is trying to identify more external markets in collaboration with the concerned government departments. They are seeking to link exporters with markets in Africa, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other countries,” said U Aung Than Oo, the vice-Chairman of the federation.
According to a statement released by the MRF on 25 February,“A delegation led by Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Soe Win, including members of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), attended the 2nd China-Myanmar Economic Corridor Forum held in the Yunnan Province of China in February. The delegates met with their Chinese counterparts in Yunnan to discuss increasing the quota limit for rice to 400,000 tons. China had granted a quota of 100,000 tons to Myanmar in 2016”. Additionally, traders from the two countries can enter into a legal agreement for the trade of broken rice produced in Myanmar by paying a tax, the press release stated.
Myanmar exports rice to foreign trade partners through the maritime route and border gates. China has been cracking down on illegal trade, prompting its merchants to halt trade, which has resulted in a drop in rice exports through Myanmar’s border channels.
“The Ministry of Commerce has forwarded a request to China, seeking a legal export channel for rice through the border gates, and so, Myanmar merchants need to make the necessary preparations for meeting China’s quality standards in order to pass its food safety inspection mechanism — the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ),” said U Aung Htoo, the Deputy Minister for Commerce.
Between 1 April 2018 and 15 February 2019, 2.115 million tons of rice and broken rice were sent to foreign markets, fetching an estimated income of US$699.46 million. Myanmar exports rice to 50 countries and ships broken rice to 21 external markets.