Suggestions for improvement of rice sector welcomed

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  • Myanmar’s rice exports in the 2017-2018 fiscal year reached a record high with more than 3.17 million tons.
    We need to maintain this type of production in the coming years in order to further expand and strengthen the market.
    This can be accomplished with improved communication among all those in the supply chain, accurate information for sellers and farmers and other participants, better preparation and increased feedback. All farmers are encouraged to give suggestions to the Union Government on how to continue our agricultural success.
    The achievement is the fruit of the collective efforts of farmers, local traders, rice millers and exporters.
    Rice is the staple food of Myanmar and plays a vital role in the agricultural export sector. Myanmar’s rice was mostly exported to Bangladesh, the Philippines, other ASEAN countries and African markets from 2003 to 2008. The market was then extended to Russia and the Middle East. China has become the main buyer of Myanmar’s rice in 2011 through the border areas. After a lift of the sanctions by the European Union (EU) against Myanmar in 2012, Myanmar’s rice could penetrate the EU market through normal trade, according to the Commerce Ministry.
    Agriculture is the main industry in Myanmar, employing more than 60 per cent of the labour force.
    It is found that rice exports have increased this year in both in normal and border trade. While making efforts for expanding the export market for our rice, we should balance between the surplus of rice and domestic rice sufficiency. We should not lose sight of the stability of the local rice market and balancing supply and demand.
    To maintain the current achievements in the rice sector, necessary preparations will be helpful for us so that we cannot rely on same export market. To improve the local rice industry, all those engaged in the supply chain are obliged to give suggestions to the Union Government.
    Only then can the government know how it can provide the sector, which is urgently needed to improve supply chain so that it can penetrated further foreign market with high quality rice. There are good market prospects to accommodate higher rice exports from Myanmar over the next 10-15 years.
    Besides, more accurate market information is needed for participants on production, consumption, exports, and prices in order allow smooth functioning of the rice market and to enable more informed policy decisions.
    When we take the rice sector into consideration, we should not neglect the farmers’ problems, gaining appropriate profits for rice millers, rice merchants and exporters. They also should be encouraged to engage into decision making in order to respond to market opportunities and increase the rice production.
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