By Nyein Nyein
Myanmar Corn Industrial Association (MCIA) has planned to open Myawady corn commodity depot in the third week of January in 2021, said MCIA Chair U Min Khaing. The corn commodity depot will be opened to ensure fair trade of corn on the Myawady border and for the greater convenience of the trading. Although the commodity depot was first targeted to open on 1 April 2020, the opening of the depot was delayed by COVID-19 outbreak, he added.
“Earlier, we were set to open the depot on the 1 April 2020. We have already invited the related officials. But we have postponed the opening of the depot because of the pandemic. Now, we have made a new schedule to open the depot in 2021. We are not sure as to what to do because the government declared the extension of the stay home till the end of December. We are ready to open the depot, but we have to invite the officials and traders from both countries. But we could not do so because of COVID-19. But we targeted to open it in the third week of January 2021,” he explained. We are attempting to open the commodity depot in January so that we could export the corn to Thailand under the tax-free system.
Thailand imposed a hefty tax on imported goods during its corn season to protect the interest of its growers. It grants tax exemption for corn import between February and August.
Thailand imported around 5 million tonnes of corn annually from abroad. At present, Myanmar’s corn export is heavily relying on border trade. The country mainly sends the corn to the neighbouring countries like China, Laos and Thailand. Corn is also shipped to Singapore, Malaysia and Viet Nam through sea trade. The corn fetched US$230-240 per tonne.
The local maize consumption in Myanmar is also higher than that in the previous year. This year, the association targeted to export 1.6 million tonnes of corn, according to the association.
Myanmar exported over 2.2 million tonnes of corn to the foreign market in the past FY2019-2020, with an estimated value of over $360 million, according to the data of the Ministry of Commerce. At present, corn is cultivated in Shan, Kachin, Kayah and Kayin states and Mandalay, Sagaing and Magway regions. There are about 1.12 million acres of corn in Myanmar, and it has three corn seasons — winter, summer and monsoon.
The country produces 2.5-3 million tonnes of corn annually. (Translated by Hay Mar)