Myanmar to finalize draft of rice standards, specifications this month

ton of rice sack
Workers arrange packs of rice at a warehouse in Yangon. 
Photo: Xinhua

The drafting of new standards and specifications for rice will be finished this month, according to the Myanmar Rice Standardization Committee. The drafting process for rice standardization is 95 per cent complete, while the draft for paddy is 60 per cent finished.
Myanmar is drafting the new standards and specifications to ensure rice produced in the country meets international standards, and to bolster exports and increase earnings through improving the quality of rice and paddy production. The new standards will also be in line with current market conditions.
Officials from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank and the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) are jointly making the draft. A series of discussions on Myanmar’s paddy standardization and specification is going on currently.
“We are revising the draft in line with the international standard. Local and international demand for rice and paddy quality varies to a certain extent. Local consumers demand smaller-sized paddy compared with international consumers. Therefore, to meet international standardization, we have to adjust the specification. Additionally, the measurement method is another controversial problem as there is no consistency in measurement units such as kilograms and tons,” said U Nay Lin Zin, the joint General-Secretary of the MRF.
The weight measurement per bag varies between regions and states, with 100 pounds making one bag in Mon State, 102 pounds in Rakhine State, 105 pounds in central Myanmar, 108 pounds in Yangon, 110.5 pounds in Pyay.
“The price of rice also varies across the regions and states according to the difference in weight measurement. Consumers tend to choose the cheaper bags without knowing this fact. Actually, the cheaper bags have a lower weight, resulting in a loss for the customers,” said a rice grower from Shwebo Township.
“Once Myanmar’s rice standards and specifications are brought in line with the international standard, exporters and rice millers will not have difficulty following the rules and regulations. However, the local market will take some time to adjust to the change. Therefore, awareness campaigns about the prescribed rice standards and specifications will be required,” the grower said.

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