By Nyein Nyein
The growth in demand and the strong export market will lead to the expansion of corn acreage, according to the Myanmar Corn Industrial Association (MCIA). “Myanmar has vast vacant, fallow and virgin land. Nevertheless, the growers do not take the risk without steady market demand, MCIA Chairman U Min Khaing said.
“It is easy for corn acreage expansion on the back of strong demand; however, there is no guarantee in Myanmar’s corn market. As there is no market responsibility, we need to solidify the market first. If the neighbouring country China will legally buy them under stipulated conditions regarding warehouse, quality and processing, Myanmar will firmly hold an export market. The government to government (G to G) pact will affirm the growers to expand the corn acreage. Our growers also need to hold Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and farming-related certificates to ensure food safety and comply with import regulations and standard of the buyers. We need to wait for only four months per season, he suggested.
The authorities concerned of Myanmar and China are exerting concerted efforts to have legal trade channel for corn.
“Food safety plays a pivotal role in import/export businesses. China market accepts HACCP and Good Agricultural Practices, which monitors the production chain and determines control points. The governments of the two countries have already agreed that. What matters most is a weak point in post-harvest technology. If the government, investors and our association work together on it, that problem will be sorted out in the next few years,” he elaborated. At present, there is no legitimate trade route with China through the land border. The deal is on mutual trade, and there is no guarantee, he pointed out.
“This is usual in cross border trade. It depends only on the demand of importer countries. China tightens security and bans imported goods when they do not have market requirements. The traders often suffer from this. Only legal trade path can offer a guarantee. The trading is now weak with illegitimate goods,” the MCIA chair shared his opinion.
The government needs to support the corn industry to create strong market, choose pedigree corn seeds for cultivation, produce fertilizer locally, share know-how to the growers with agriculturists, get government’s loan access for the growers to enhance production and boost exports, and attract the investors for post-harvest handling, Myanmar Corn Industrial Association requested.
At present, Myanmar’s corn export is heavily relying on border trade. The country mainly sends the corn to the neighbouring countries China, Laos and Thailand. It is also shipped to Singapore, Malaysia and Viet Nam through sea trade. The corn fetched US$230-240 per tonne.
The corn is cultivated in Shan, Kachin, Kayah and Kayin states and Mandalay, Sagaing and Magway regions. Myanmar has three corn seasons- winter, summer and monsoon. The country yearly produces 2.5-3 million tonnes of corns.
Myanmar exported 2.2 million tonnes of corns to the foreign market in the past financial year 2019-2020, with an estimated value of $360 million, the Ministry of Commerce’s data showed. In the current FY, Myanmar set corn export target of 1.6 million tonnes as the local consumption grew higher than the previous years, the association stated. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)
By Nyein Nyein