Myanmar corn export bodies call for extension of MoU with Thailand

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Farmers unloading the corns from the truck.  Photo: ko htein

Myanmar corn traders asked the government officials to extend the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on corn export to ensure smooth trade.
The MoU between Myanmar and Thailand on corn trade signed on 12 December 2017, and the three-year MoU is due to expire in August 2020.
Under the MoU, Myanmar corn exports were exempted from tax between 1 February and 31 August. The trade is halted about 5 months of Thailand’s corn production to protect the rights of their growers. Also, Thailand imposed 73 per cent of tax on corn import, said a corn exporter.
Earlier, China is the major purchaser of Myanmar’s corn. China has suspended the importation of some agro products through the borders including corns since 2017-2018FY. Besides, corn is not listed in China’s legitimate goods for border trade.
This year, Myanmar traders turned to Thailand border market.
Myanmar has been exporting corns to Thailand through Myawady border. Myanmar’s corn exports to Thailand significantly soared to over 1.2 million tonnes through the border checkpoints between Myanmar and Thailand during October and May period in the current FY2019-2020, said an official of the Ministry of Commerce.
Myanmar is the second-largest exporter of corn among regional countries. There are over 1.9 million acres of corn plantations, primarily in Sagaing and Magway regions, and Chin, Kayin, Shan, and Kayah states.
Last year, corn traders faced losses due to the falling demand from China, said Union Minister Dr Than Myint of the Ministry of Commerce at the corn crop sector development forum held on 6 June 2020 in Nay Pyi Taw.
Afterwards, the deputy minister U Aung Htoo also advised the growers of the substitution of crops which has export potentials at the forum. The domestic feed processing industry demand around 1.2 to 1.5 million tonnes of corns. Myanmar produces 2.3 million tonnes of corns. So far, Myanmar has sent over 1.8 million tonnes of corns to external market and 1.2 million tonnes went to Thailand. Therefore, all the stakeholders in the industry need to exert concerted efforts to improve the sector as corn has growing demand from domestic market, coupled with export potentials.
This year, corns fetch 126 baht per 15 kg depending on the tax and currency exchange rate. It was priced 108 baht per 15 kg last year, said U Aung Myint Myat, a corn trader of PTT Co., Ltd.
At present, corn exports through maritime trade significantly rose, hiking the price. Yet, Thailand’s feed processing factories cannot offer the competitive price against domestic buyers. This being so, Myanmar witnessed a sharp fall in corn exports to Thailand through Myawady border this month, said a corn trader.
Next, Myanmar exports corn to India, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines through maritime trade. Yet, the volume of corn exports to those markets is quite small.
In the current fiscal, Myanmar has shipped over 500,000 tonnes of corns to external markets through maritime trade.
The corn crop is mostly demanded by feedstuff processing business. This being so, it is potential business for both domestic and external markets, said an official of the Ministry of Commerce.
Myanmar surpassed corn export target of over a million tonnes in the current fiscal.
Myanmar shipped 1.5 million tons of corn, worth US$270 million, to foreign countries in the previous financial year. During the previous fiscal, 200,000 tonnes of corn, worth over $40 million, was shipped through maritime trade, while 1.3 million tonnes of corn, with an estimated value of $230 million, was sent through the borders, according to the data released by the Ministry of Commerce.
As per data from the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar exported 1.4 million tonnes of corn, worth over $290 million, in the 2017-2018FY; 1.2 million tonnes of corn, worth $250 million, in the 2016-2017FY; and, 1.1 million tonnes of corn, worth $300 million, in the 2015-2016FY.—Myat Ko, Htet Myat (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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