THE value of agricultural exports plunged to US$827.97 million as of 17 December in the current mini-budget period (October 2021-March 2022), indicating a drop of $90.7 million as against the yearago period, as per the statistic of the Ministry of Commerce.
The agro exports stood at $918.75 million in the corresponding period of the 2020-2021FY.
The figures dropped only after China gave the go-ahead to border trade. China’s import regulations and prevention measures for the COVID-19 caused a delay, exporters said.
The use of Yuan or Kyat in the bilateral transaction is officially allowed in the border areas between Myanmar and China in a bid to encourage trade. Therefore, trade is expected to increase in the coming months.
China constitutes 90 per cent of Myanmar’s fruit and vegetable exports. During the previous financial year, the closure of border posts by China adversely affected the fruit growers.
During the mini-budget period, the coronavirus pandemic impacted the foreign demand for agricultural products, livestock, mineral and finished industrial goods. On the contrary, the exports of the fishery, forest products and other goods rose slightly.
In the exports sector, the agriculture industry performed the best, accounting for 37 per cent of overall exports. The chief items of export in the agricultural sector are rice and broken rice, pulses and beans and maize. Fruits and vegetables, sesame, dried tea leaves, sugar, and other agro products are also shipped to other countries.
Myanmar agro products are primarily exported to China, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. Sometimes, the export market remains uncertain due to unsteady global demand.
The country requires specific export plans for each agro product, as they are currently exported to external markets based upon supply and demand. The G-to-G pact also ensures a strong market for the farmers. Contract farming systems, involvement of regional and state agriculture departments, exporters, traders, and some grower groups, are required to meet production targets, the Agriculture Department stated.
The Commerce Ministry is endeavouring to help farmers deal with challenges such as high input costs, procurement of pedigree seeds, high cultivation costs, and erratic weather conditions. The agricultural exports jumped to US$4.6 billion in the financial year 2020-2021, despite the downward trend in other export groups. — KK/ GNLM