Myanmar to boost rice exports

rice  Rowan PeterMyanmar has plans to export rice to several new markets beyond Africa by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2014. (Image source: Rowan Peter/Flickr)Myanmar has revealed plans to nearly double its rice exports to three million tonnes by early next year, selling majorly to newer markets

Myanmar Rice Industry Association central executive member Soe Tun told Radio Free Asia’s Myanmar service that Myanmar has plans to export to several new markets beyond Africa by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2014.

Myanmar’s rice market was mostly confined to Africa during decades of international sanctions against the Southeast Asian nation’s military regime, which yielded to a reformist government in 2011.

According to commerce minister Win Myint, “Myanmar expects its rice exports to reach three million tonnes in the next fiscal year.

“We are now exporting to European countries, including Russia, Spain, Portugal, and Belgium. We have exported about 5,000 tonnes to these countries.”

Myanmar had signed an agreement in March that led to a shipment of 5,000 tonnes of rice to Japanese trading house Mitsui earlier in May 2013, its first export of rice to Japan in 45 years. The deal will also see Japan invest in Burmese processing plants that will have an annual intake of 400,000 tonnes of rice.

Soe Tun said Burma had recently set new records in rice exports, referring to a state media report which said that the country had exceeded its target of 1.5mn tonnes in the last fiscal year by about 600,000 tonnes, marking “the highest amount of rice exported from Myanmar in the last 46 years.”

Myanmar is now fifth in terms of rice exports around the world and is now poised to grow,” he added.

The Southeast Asian nation was the world’s biggest rice exporter for much of the first half of the 20th century until it was overtaken by Thailand in 1962.

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