Myanmar rice exports set to top 2 mil. tons as China lifts import restriction

A bird’s eye view of paddy fields near Yangon. In the previous fiscal year, Myanmar approved US $39.66 million worth of foreign direct investment in the country’s agriculture sector.
A bird’s eye view of paddy fields near Yangon. In the previous fiscal year, Myanmar approved US $39.66 million worth of foreign direct investment in the country’s agriculture sector.

Myanmar’s rice exports will top 2 million tons this year, with official shipments to China set to resume this May following the lifting of an import ban by Beijing, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation.
“We expect to export around 2 million tons of rice in fiscal 2015-2016, MRF Joint Secretary Dr Soe Tun said Wednesday, adding that the first batch comprising 3,000 tons of rice will be delivered to China next month.
“Myanmar exported about 1.8 million tons of rice, including 400,000 tons of broken rice, in 2014-2015 FY, up from 1.27 million in 2013-2014 FY and 1.46 million in FY 2012-2013.”
Last year’s export volume was the highest in 50 years, earning US $644 million, he added.
Significantly, the United States was one of the 64 countries to import rice from Myanmar in the previous fiscal year.
“A total of 17 tons of Paw Hsan Hmwe, fragrant aroma rice, was exported to the US market,” Dr Soe Tun said.
Rice exports to China have risen steadily despite Beijing officially banning shipments of the product from Myanmar in 2014. Of the 1.8 million tonnes exported last fiscal year, 1.3 million went to China, including over 230,000 tons of broken rice, accounting for 75 percent of Myanmar’s total rice exports.  Myanmar exported around 900,000 tons to China a year earlier.According to statistics, Myanmar rice exports to Africa were down, while demand from Europe was up last year after Myanmar’s preferred exporter status for the European market was restored. Rice shipments to Japan totalled only 6,000 tons in the last fiscal year.
Myanmar’s $644 million earnings from rice exports last year marked an increase from $460 million the previous year and $544 million in fiscal 2012-2013.
Regarding official rice trade with China, Dr Soe Tun told the Global New Light of Myanmar that the planned delivery of 3,000 tons of rice to China in May would be the first shipment under a memorandum of understanding signed in early 2015. The MOU provides for 100,000 tons of rice to be exported from China to Myanmar. Nineteen firms will export rice to China under the deal.
According to the country’s agriculture data, Myanmar produces 14 million tons of rice yearly, with domestic consumption accounting for 12 million tons.  With around 7 million paddy growers, Myanmar has some 16 million acres of farmland for monsoon paddy cultivation and 3 million for summer paddy cultivation.

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