Monitoring efforts will be carried out by MRPF to mitigate El Nino’s impact on the agricultural sector

A child  walks across a dried pond as he carries water in southern Yangon in 2010.
A child walks across a dried pond as he carries water in southern Yangon in 2010.

THE Myanmar Rice and Paddy Federation (MRPF) has made it known that they will continuously monitor and study the impacts of the El Nino weather front as it could have damaging affects upon monsoon season paddy cultivation.
The MRPF is currently in dialogue with meteorological experts and will inform farmers of freak changes in the weather as they unfold.
“It is quite possible that the El Nino weather front, which is more severe than previous years, will cause the drying up of water supplies in the months of June and July which usually sees rainfall. As such, monsoon season paddy could be affected. That said, we must foremost monitor the weather front as we are still not in a position whereby we can know the exact extent of El Nino’s arrival to the country.” said U Lu Maw Myint Maung, secretary of the MRPF.
While the affect of El Nino will not be felt in Myanmar during the dry season paddy harvest, the late arrival of annual rainfall could have detrimental effects on cultivation of monsoon paddy crops. As a result, the federation is planning to monitor weather patterns in the manner described.
It is known that policy will be formulated should Myanmar experience a severe weather front that will have the quantity of rice exports re-evaluated, with that sidelined for export to be used for domestic consumption, in order to mitigate infliction upon the production expenses of cultivators and to provide for domestic food security.
“The main El Nino related concern that we have to keep a close eye on is whether there will be enough rain fall for monsoon paddy. The amount of rain that will fall in coming monsoon season is something to be worried about.” said U Ye Min Aung, general secretary of the MRPF.
Thirteen States and Regions nationwide experienced torrential rain during the monsoon season months of July and August in 2015 which resulted in mass flooding, after which a temporary halt was put on rice exports between the start of September and 15 October.
In order to stabilise the price of rice after the flooding, over twenty rice wholesalers were opened through which over 400,000 bags of rice was sold, according to the MRPF.
China is the main country to which Myanmar rice is exported, followed by the Philippines, Indonesia and European countries. In the fiscal year of 2014-15 over 180,000 tonnes of rice were exported to such countries, while until the end of January this fiscal year a total of 130,000 tonnes had been exported.
Meteorological experts regard this year El Nino weather front to be the strongest in a century, the effects of which have already started to be felt in Myanmar.

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