Rice export through sea trade earns $653 mln in current FY

Workers carry rice bags onto a vehicle in Yangon in May 2019.  Photo: Phoe Khwar

Myanmar maritime trade, which constituted 84 per cent of rice exports, generated an estimated income of US$653.465 million as of 11 September in the current financial year, as per data from Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). Earlier, border trade was relatively high compared to sea trade in terms of rice exports. Since the previous financial year, border trade has dropped, and currently, it accounts for just 14 per cent of the total rice exports. Rice exports through the borders have generated an estimated $121.426 million in the current financial year. MRF expected to ship 2.4 million tonnes of rice, and broken rice in the current FY and the country meet the export target before the financial year-end. Between 1 October and 11 September, Myanmar sent over 413,490 metric tons to neighbouring countries through border trade, while over 2.117 million tonnes of rice and broken rice were shipped to foreign trade partners via maritime trade, totalling over 2.53 million tonnes. Ove the past eleven months, the value of Myanmar’s rice and broken rice export was estimated at US$774.89 million. A surge in rice shipping through sea trade was contributed to meeting year’s export target, MRF stated. Border trade sharply dropped due to China clamping down on illegal trade and China’s precautionary measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, said MRF Vice President U Aung Than Oo. “Illegal trade is highly witnessed between Myanmar and China borders in the previous years. This year, traders sent the goods via legitimate trade route, and trading volume sharply fell,” he added.
Myanmar has shipped rice to 66 foreign markets. China is the primary buyer of Myanmar rice, followed by Malaysia and the Philippines. Madagascar is the fourth-largest buyer and Guinea the fifth-largest buyer of Myanmar rice. In the current FY, Myanmar has exported broken rice mostly to Belgium, followed by China, Senegal, Indonesia and Thailand. Broken rice has been placed in 60 foreign markets.
ASEAN countries constitute 18 per cent of Myanmar’s total rice exports with over 472,564 tonnes. In comparison, 30 per cent of total rice exports in Myanmar goes to China with over 744,108 tonnes, followed by African countries with 28 per cent after exports of around 705,986 tonnes. The European Union countries account for over 20 per cent of rice exports with over 501,664 tonnes while other countries represent four per cent of exports with over 106,903 tonnes. Myanmar targets to export 4 million tonnes of rice and broken rice in the coming financial year 2020-2021, he noted. Myanmar shipped 3.6 million tonnes of rice in the 2017-2018 financial year, which was an all-time record in rice exports. The export volume plunged to 2.3 million tonnes, in the 2018-2019FY.—Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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