Burma aims to take more shares in the rice market
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Burma aims to take more shares in the rice market

The Bago Region Agricultural Development Workshop was held at city hall in Bago on 28 July, 2012, the state-run newspaper The New Light of Myanmar said Monday.

In his discussion concerning agricultural growth of Myanmar (Burma), Union Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Myint Hlaing said that it is agricultural sector that could make more earnings within two seasons’ hard work, quoting the guidance of the President Thein Sein.

According to Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Myint Hlaing, the loans should be distributed by cooperative societies and microfinance. Land and loan policies should be adopted. Rules and regulations and policies should be endorsed for letting investment in agricultural sector in the form of public-private partnership companies, Myint Hlaing said.

The President has directed with detailed description of measures to be taken to reach target of twofold income for farmers, calling for obligation to the collective goal. The minister also encouraged the farmers by saying that ‘unity and confidence are essential for achieving the goal. With no unity, we could not reach any further’. He also urged participants in the workshop to help farmers cope with challenges.

Union Minister for Cooperatives and for Livestock and Fisheries Ohn Myint discussed the measures with regard to marketing – to make sure free flow and sale of meat and fish products in domestic market – and food security. Legal enforcement would be made to guarantee the food safety, Ohn Myint said. Minister Ohn Myint also expressed that his departments would inspect the foods to be exported whether these are harmful for consumption or not and there are chemical ingredients or not in the foods.

Myanmar has got ISO 17025 certificate which is used for certifying marine products at international level, for the first time, and exportation process would be carried out jointly with the Commerce Ministry, he said.

Explaining about the rice production, Union Minister for Commerce Win Myint said that as per-acre yield of paddy production in Myanmar (Burma) is less than other countries while production cost higher than that of others. Again, he said that as lower quality of rice and other situations, export price of rice is less than that of other countries. While one ton of 25% Myanmar rice gets US$ 330/ 340, 25% rice of Thailand fetches US$ 545, that of Vietnam US$ 375, that of Pakistan US$ 410 and that of India US$ 390, Win Myint put in plain words.

Moreover, he said, there were 1220 rice mills that produce 15 tons of rice a day and 296 rice mills that could produce above 25% quality rice. A total of 58 rice mills could produce Super 5% and Super 100% rice. Therefore, he reviewed that it would be needed building more modern rice mills.

According to Win Myint, the country’s largest quantity of export rice goes to Ivory Coast, the second large amount to China and the third to Bangladesh. In the past, the route of export relied on only maritime course. At present, rice can be exported to China through border trade camp, he said.

He also gave explanation that whereas 537,000 tons of rice had been exported in 2010-2011 fiscal year, export of rice reached nearly 850,000 tons in 2011-2012 fiscal year. He added that an arrangement is under way to export over one million tons of rice in 2012-2013 fiscal year. As said by the Minister for Commerce, Myanmar Rice Industry Association, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and Ministry of Commerce work together to be capable of sell overseas not only 25% rice but also Super 5% and Super 100%.

For that reason, the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar Rice Industry Association (MRIA) and Myanmar Rice Dealers Association will hold coordination in foreign countries with a view to strengthening of market and getting suitable prices, the Minister for Commerce said. Accordingly, MRIA has set an export target of one million tonnes for the 2012-13 financial year, the association’s secretary said in April 2012, according to Myanmar Business Network. He said the country exported about 850,000 tonnes of rice in the 2011-12 fiscal year, earning about US$324 million.

In accordance with the IMF’s estimation, Myanmar has the potential to become the Asia’s “next economic frontier” if it takes advantage of its natural resources, young labor force and proximity to China and India, the International Monetary Fund said in Junuary. The country, which shares borders with the world’s two most-populous nations, may grow 5.5 percent in 2011-2012, IMF said.