Myanmar exploring new markets for rice exports

16 September

Myanmar has recently begun exploring new markets such as Mozambique and Liberia to export rice through maritime trade, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Myanmar exports more than 30,000 tons of rice every week through sea trade. The prices per ton range from US$320-340 for the Aemahta variety, $275-345 for white rice, $235-270 for broken rice, $235-430 for parboiled rice, and $550-575 for the Pawsan variety, depending on the type and grade of rice.

Myanmar's rice exports through the border trade channel have registered a drastic decline in the current fiscal year, according to figures released by the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).

Myanmar primarily exports rice to China through the border gates. However, trade in agricultural products is often halted on account of China clamping down on illegal border trade. The closure of the gate on the major trading route on the Mandalay-Muse Road, following fighting in mid-August, has compounded the problem.

At present, rice is being exported to China through a government-to-government (G2G) agreement and a barter system, in exchange for Chinese goods.

Earlier, border trade was relatively high compared to sea trade in terms of rice exports. During the current fiscal year, border trade has accounted for just 29 per cent of the total rice export, while maritime trade has constituted 70.9 per cent.

Between 1 October, 2018 and 30 August, 2019, rice exports through the border gates helped the country earn an estimated $179 million, whereas maritime trade generated an income of $443.79 million, data from the Commerce Ministry showed.

The volume of rice and broken rice exported in the past 11 months of the current fiscal year is estimated at over 2 million metric tons, worth over $623.57 million, according to an announcement from the Myanmar Rice Federation.
Myanmar currently ships rice to 62 foreign markets. China, which accounts for 33 per cent of the total rice exports, is the main buyer of Myanmar rice, followed by the Philippines and Côte d'Ivoire. Cameroon is the fourth-largest buyer and Madagascar the fifth-largest buyer of Myanmar rice. The European Union countries account for over 20.88 per cent of rice exports, while 25.4 per cent of Myanmar's rice goes to African countries.

Myanmar exports broken rice mostly to Belgium, followed by Indonesia, China, the Netherlands, and the UK. It is placed in 37 foreign markets.

Myanmar shipped 3.6 million tons of rice in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which is the all-time record in rice exports.—GNLM (Translated by EMM)