By Kyaw Htike Soe
Myanmar transported about 1.65 million tonnes of rice and broken riceto countries around the world in the current fiscal year, according to the figures from the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). Myanmar freightedmore than 1.09 million tonnes of rice and 551,641 tonnes of broken rice, fetching US$ 475.4 million during the period from 1 October 2019 to early April this year. Over 1.4 million tonnes of rice or 85.8 per cent of the total rice export was shipped aboard by sea.
Myanmar’s maritime trade accounted for around 85 per cent of the total rice exports in the current financial year, generating an estimated income of US$313 million, the data from the MRF shows.
The volume of rice shipped via sea trade exceeded 1 million tonnes in the current fiscal. Rice trade via the border checkpoints accounts for just 13.58 per cent of the total rice exports.
Rice exports through the borders have generated an estimated US$44.47 million in the current financial year. The volume of rice and broken rice exported between 1 October and 14 February in the financial year 2019-2020 has been estimated at over 1.264 million metric tons, worth US$ 475.4 million, the MRF’s data said.Myanmar has exported rice and broken rice to 59 foreign markets in the current financial year.
China is the main buyer of Myanmar rice, followed by Madagascar and the Philippines.
Guinea is the fourth-largest buyer and Malaysia the fifth-largest buyer of Myanmar rice. The European Union countries account for over 14.84 per cent of rice exports, while 37.55 per cent of rice grown in Myanmar goes to African countries.
In the current fiscal, Myanmar has shipped broken rice mostly to Belgium, followed by Indonesia, Senegal, Guinea, and the
Broken rice has been placed in 52 foreign markets.
Thanks to the expansion of rice markets globally, Myanmar’s rice exports have risen to the highest level in 55 years in the fiscal year 2017-18, with rice and broken rice exports to foreign countries increased to more than 3 million tonnes, earning US$ 949 million and1.39 million tonnes of rice worth US$ 406 million was shipped by sea, the Ministry of Commerce said.
“Myanmar exported 3.58 million metric tonnes of rice which is the all-time highest record of rice in the fiscal year 2017-2018. But the export amount of rice to foreign countries declined after China suspended the import of rice from Myanmar.
I think it would be difficult to surpass the old record of rice export to foreign countries,” said U Myint Lwin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Myanmar Rice Federation.
The country mostly transports broken rice to Belgium, followed by Indonesia, China, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka, up from 40 countries compared to the previous year. Around 52 per cent of the rice exports were conducted by sea route while the remaining was transported through borders.
The agricultural sector is the lifeblood of Myanmar people. Myanmar was the world’s largest exporter of rice in the mid-20th century.More than 75 per cent of total rice production is consumed in the country where over 70 per cent of the total populations reside in rural areas and surplus rice volume is being exported to foreign countries. Myanmar is looking to become one of the world’s top three rice exporters in the next few years and has set a target to export 2.5 million tonnes of rice in present fiscal year which started in October last year. Myanmar earned US$ 645 million from exporting over 1.8 million metric tonnes of rice and broken rice in 2014-2015FY and fetched US$ 618 from transporting 1.4 million metric tonnes of rice and broken rice in 2015-2016FY.
The Southeast Asian country exported 1.7 million metric tonnes of rice and broken rice in 2016-2017, fetching US$ 405 million. Myanmar shipped about 3.6 million metric tonnes of rice and broken rice valued at US$ 1.356 billionin 2017-2018FY and exported over 2.35 million tonnes of rice and broken rice worth over 709.6 million US in the financial year 2018-2019.