European delegation explores import deal on aromatic rice from Myanmar

     U Ye Min Aung, secretary-general of Myanmar Rice Federation, makes a  presentation to delegation from the European Commission.
U Ye Min Aung, secretary-general of Myanmar Rice Federation, makes a
presentation to delegation from the European Commission.

A delegation from the European Commission met with representatives of the Myanmar Rice Federation in Yangon on Wednesday to discuss the potential for supplying the EU market with aromatic varieties of the country’s staple crop.
In the meeting at the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, European Commission rice market officer Mr Damien Plan asked the federation about Myanmar’s ability to export fragrant strains to Europe in the mid- to long-term. Demand for fragrant rice varieties produced outside EU is on the rise among European consumers, according to the visiting delegation.
U Ye Min Aung, general secretary of the MRF,  said Myanmar can grow both short and long grain aromatic rice to meet EU demand through the contract farming system.
Myanmar has two types of aromatic rice — Lone Thwal Hmwe, which is similar to jasmine rice from Thailand and Paw San, which was judged the world’s best rice at the World Rice Conference in 2011.
MRF vice-chairman Dr Soe Tun said exporting to Europe would enable Myanmar growers to diversify their markets.
However, local farmers will need to grow a greater volume of aromatic rice to supply the EU market, as local consumption already accounts for most of the crop.
“As the price of Paw San is high here, no one wants to export,” he said, adding that the price of export rice would be around US $900 per ton.
According to the MRF, Myanmar targets to export some 200,000 tons of rice to the EU this year, compared to 100,000 tons last year. Around 70 percent of Myanmar’s rice exports go to China, with the remaining 30 percent going to the EU, Japan and Africa markets.
EU statistics show exports of Myanmar milled rice to Europe increased 120 percent between September 2014 and April 2015, while broken rice exports rose 81 percent during the same period.
A member of the European delegation said an export deal with Myanmar on aromatic rice strains would “create a win-win situation, as we don’t produce them and we want and eat them.”
“We hope to come back again in the future and continue discussions,” he said.

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