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MRF expects rice exports to plunge in current FY

Workers loading the truck with sacks of rice at Botahtaung Jetty in Yangon. 

Myanmar’s rice exports through the border have plummeted drastically in the current fiscal year, bringing down the overall export volume, according to figures released by the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).

Between 1 October, 2018 and 16 August, 2019, exports of rice through the border checkpoints have fetched an estimated US$179.7 million, while income from the maritime rice trade has reached $443.79 million.

On account of problems in the conduct of border trade with China, the country’s rice exports are expected to touch around 2.5 million tons in the current financial year, according to the MRF.

Myanmar primarily exports rice to China through the border gates. However, trade in agricultural products has been halted on account of China’s clampdown on illegal trade in border gates.

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

Unlike earlier, maritime trade this year has been relatively high compared to border trade when it comes to rice exports, accounting for 70.9 per cent of the total exports.
The total volume of rice and broken rice exported between 1 October, 2018 and 16 August, 2019 is estimated at 2.06 million metric tons, worth over $623.57 million, according to an announcement from the MRF.

Myanmar rice has penetrated over 60 foreign markets. China is the largest buyer of Myanmar’s rice, accounting for over 677,900 metric tons of rice and broken rice exports, followed by the Philippines and Cameroon. Côte d’Ivoire is the fourth, while Madagascar is the fifth largest buyer of Myanmar rice. Moreover, the European Union countries have imported over 430,900 metric tons of rice from Myanmar, while over 513,000 tons of rice and broken rice has been shipped to African countries.

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

In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Myanmar shipped 3.6 million tons of rice to other countries, which is an all-time record in rice exports.