Rice Exports to Sri Lanka Good Business for Myanmar

  • COLOMBO (IDN) — A recent statement by a Myanmar official has indicated that Sri Lanka has been buying rice from the country at a price higher than what others are paying for it. This has raised eyebrows in Sri Lanka that has prided itself for being self-sufficient in rice, its staple diet, for decades. In a statement attributed to the secretary of the Bayintnaung Rice Wholesale Depot, U Than Oo, Myanmar’s national daily Global New Light of Myanmar has said that in the past year Myanmar has been exporting rice to Sri Lanka and it has been a very profitable business. “Sri Lanka is a neighbour of ours and it is easy to export rice from Myanmar by sea. We sell rice to other countries at USD 340-350 per tonne, but to Sri Lanka we have been able to sell at USD 440-450 a tonne,” U Than was quoted as saying.  While Myanmar has been fetching over $ 100 per tonne above the price paid by other countries, he has also said that the Sri Lankan authorities have not imposed any restrictions on the import of Myanmar rice. “While Sri Lanka imposes no restrictions, Europe and China have been imposing various tariffs and other restrictions to protect their markets,” says U Than. “So, it is somewhat complex to export rice to these countries.” Sri Lanka has signed a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar on January 7 to import 100,000 tonnes of white rice and 50,000 tonnes of brown rice this year and the next. Due to this agreement Sri Lanka would be spending $ 15 million extra on rice imports. According to a Sri Lankan commerce ministry statement, while Myanmar has quoted $ 465 per metric tonne, the Sri Lankan counterparts have been able to negotiate the price down to $445 per metric tonne. Agricultural industry observers here predict that the rice harvest this year (due for harvest in April) could be down by about 30 percent. Today the rice prices in the market have skyrocketed creating social tension in the country. After the fertilizer subsidies to farmers were lifted (after the organic farming policy was announced) and the guaranteed price for paddy was increased to Rs 75 per kilogram, it has made any price controls of rice in the market place impossible. Government has announced that due to domestic market necessities, Sri Lanka would need to import up to 600,000 tons of rice this year. This would be the biggest rice imports to the country for 5 years. The government has also allocated Rs 40 billion ($ 13.8 million) to compensate farmers for harvest losses due to the switch to the organic farming policy. Due to the import of processed rice, United Rice Producers Society (URPS) says that it is threatening the closure of up to 500 small and medium sized rice mills in the country. “Only 75 percent of more than 800 rice mills in our country are in operation right now,” says Kusumitha Muditha, president of URPS. After a long period of self-sufficiency in rice, on November 15 last year when rice imports began to flow in, it has created this situation, he added. It is estimated that only 2.8 percent of farming land in the country use non-chemical fertilizer. After the announcement of the organic farming policy (in April 2021) some businesses have used household waste to make so-called “organic-compost fertilizer” to sell to farmers, which agricultural sources are worried is a fraud misleading farmer. Most of this is compost of food waste and is not helpful to realize Sri Lanka’s organic farming dream. The Central Bank has estimated that the leadership given to the Sri Lankan economy by agricultural activity has been now reduced by 7 percentage points and it has given rise to an agricultural industry that cannot satisfy farmers or consumers. It has come to a situation that seeds and fertilizer necessary for farmers are hard to obtain. Most of the farmers in Sri Lanka do not own the land on which they farm. Out of the productive land in Sri Lanka, government owns 82 percent.  Many of the farm leases of farmers have expired or lapsed. There are fears that if the traditional methods of survival of the farmers are tampered with, Sri Lanka would need to depend on rice imports into the foreseeable future. The farm costs have gone up including labour and hire of farm equipment. It has also made the farmer a permanent debtor. The Peoples Bank that was set up to assist farmers has now distanced itself from the farm sector, while the government has shied away from assisting the farmer. Today it is estimated that 22.2 percent of Sri Lanka’s food needs are covered by imports. To address this Sri Lanka has imported rice from Myanmar without any checks on its standards and suitability (for Sri Lankan cuisine). Within the Sri Lankan rice production industry there has been a shift in power structures with very few people controlling farming and especially trading. This has had a serious impact on the consumer according to the National Audit Office. They attribute this to the dire straits of the rice farming sector in the country. They have also pointed out that the ownership of rice mills in Sri Lanka has been slashed from 2000 people two decades ago to 800 today. 'Economynext' news noted recently that the government has given the nod to the State Trading Corporation to import limited quantities of rice from Myanmar to help stabilize the price of rice in the local market, which has been pushed up by a milling oligarchy, after Sri Lanka banned rice imports earlier and imposed an import tax. [IDN-InDepthNews – 31 March 2022] * Deshan Maduranga is a media and communication student at the Sri Palee campus of the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Image: Myanmar inks G-to-G agreement to export rice to Sri Lanka. Credit: MMR IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.    
  • Myanmar to produce value-added products from rice husk, rice bran

  • YANGON (Xinhua): The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has been working on the manufacturing of value-added products from rice husk and rice bran, according to state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar on Tuesday (March 8). The project on manufacturing value-added products from by-products of rice will be implemented in collaboration with rice mill owners, the newspaper quoted the federation as saying. The federation will utilise rice husks for electricity generation and rice brans for rice bran oil production. The value-added production projects will benefit sectors including edible oil, renewable electricity generation and feed manufacturing, it said. Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation, founded by the federation, has been carrying out power generation pilot projects by operating rice husk power plants in Kyaiklat and Myaungmya townships, and rice bran oil production pilot projects using solvent extraction and physical refining technology. "The rice industry's annual production value reached nearly 7,000 billion kyats (US$3.94 billion). The federation is working on boosting the value of domestic products and increasing investment and trade," MRF President U Ye Min Aung said. Such domestic manufacturing and job creation will help the implementation of the country's economic objectives, he added.
  • LWF Myanmar: innovative techniques for rice farmers

  • Farmers remove weeds in a Laos rice field. In most Asian countries, rice is both a main staple and a principal livelihood. Photo: Thomas Lohnes

    Producing more with less labor and less water

    (LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is promoting long-term resilience in Myanmar by teaching farmers in the Kayin State new rice planting techniques that produces more rice with less labor and less water.   This innovative method, called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) has helped rice farmers increase production, improve the quality of seedlings and implement more sustainable practices. Despite the current conflict in Myanmar, farmers in less affected areas continue to strive towards creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. According to the Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 14,4 Million people are in need of humanitarian assistance with 6,2 million requiring urgent lifesaving support. LWF has been in these communities for years, supporting long-term community-based empowerment as well as humanitarian support through shelters and Non-food Items (NFIs) “LWF continues to work with the resilient local communities to implement projects that bring hope for a better future despite times of uncertainty,” says Susan Muis, LWF Regional Program Coordinator for Asia. “Although the challenges of conflict persist, in places where the situation is less dire, such as Kayin, farmers strive to uphold a commitment to improve their livelihoods and mitigate the effects of climate change.”

    Two times the rice with less water

    Since 2019, the LWF has provided training on SRI for local farmers in Myanmar. Over 50 families have participated in the training. The technique is a climate-resilient agricultural practice that helps produce higher yields using organic methods including salt water, and cow manure. It requires a smaller investment than traditional rice production methods. The SRI technique uses less water than traditional rice planting. Rice seedlings are planted sooner, while they are young small plants and need less nutrients. Each seedling can yield two times more rice than the previously used techniques    Local crops are vulnerable to the effects of climate change and insect infestation, affecting the living conditions of families who rely entirely on farming. Severe rainfall from the mountains floods the paddies, often located in lower altitudes, destroying the sprouting rice. In contrast, at the end of the rainy season paddies dry out due to the lack of moisture in the soil, decreasing the rice yield.  
    With the SRI method the rice plants are stronger, more resistant to flood, draught, heavy winds, pests, and diseases. Yields are also higher.
    — U Saw Htein LINN, local SRI farmer
    “I was quite interested in the new method because I enjoy experimenting with technologies" says U Saw Htein Linn, one of the first farmers to train and adopt the technique.  “I also joined a Facebook group called network of SRI friends to share experiences and knowledge.”  He adds, “with the SRI method the rice plants are stronger, more resistant to flood, draught, heavy winds, pests, and diseases. Yields are also higher. 10 baskets of paddy from the traditional method would yield 3.5 baskets of milled rice, SRI yields 4.” SRI has allowed farmers to gain more independence in rice seed selection. Linn states, “in the past we would collect paddy from the harvest and replant the next year. It would last 5 to 6 years as seed quality decreased with each season. We would then go to the department of agriculture to buy new seeds. With SRI the quality of seeds is consistent in addition to selling for food, I now also sell my high-quality paddy as seeds. People are purchasing their paddy from me and don’t need to travel to the city.” Daw San San Chit, Linn’s wife shares that the improvement of the quality of their yields and living condition has allowed them to give back to the community and those most in need. “Our family has donated to the vulnerable elderly, orphans and the monastery. The profit has been enough that we can afford to purchase and donate food to our community. We are taking better care of our children and will continue to apply the SRI.”
  • Floods destroy 90,000 acres of paddy field

  • Bago, Ayeyarwady, Magwe and Yangon regions have been the areas most affected by flooding during the rainy season. Aung Htay Hlaing/The Myanmar Times
     
     
    SOME 90,000 acres of riceland have been destroyed due to flooding as of August 18, a huge decline compared to 300,000 acres of paddy washed out in 2015, the government said.
    The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation said that of the estimated 15 million acres of rainy-season rice crop for this fiscal year, some 10.5 million acres had been cultivated before the rainy season peaked in late July, submerging 400,000 acres of rice. “We cannot say that all of the submerged paddy has been destroyed. Only around 90,000 acres have been destroyed,” U Myo Tint Htun, deputy secretary at the ministry’s office, said, but he added that the figure can increase because the rainy season has not yet ended.
     
    Bago, Ayeyarwady, Magwe and Yangon regions have been the most affected by the floods, with more than 400,000 acres of farmland under water up to August 18, but water levels have almost receded in those areas, said U Myo Tint Htun.  U Myo Tint Htun said the irrigation department has prepared for this year’s flooding season more intensively, building canals that drain the paddies fast, and this was a factor in the decline of damage to the crop.  U Thein Aung, president of the Freedom of Farmer League, said Ayeyarwady has not been affected much in the cultivation of rainy-season paddy this fiscal year because there was not much heavy rain at the time of the planting season in early June.  “Some areas of the cultivation are under water, but loss is not much worth saying compared to the last three years,” he said. U Nay Lin Zin, joint secretary general of Myanmar Rice Federation, said Myanmar can meet the export goal as the floods did not significantly affect the cultivation of crops.  “In the last fiscal year we could only export 1.8 million tonnes. I think 200,000 tonnes was lost because of the floods,” he said. The government export target is 4 million tonnes of rice by 2020, double the 2 million tonnes export target for fiscal 2017-2018.  The ministry has access to more than 50,000 buckets of seed which can be immediately distributed around the country to those in need to ensure this year’s target would be met.
  • Sri Lanka signs rice deal

  • Submitted by ttwin on Sun, 07/16/2017 - 17:46

    Writer: Nilar
    Workers loading rice on a ship at Pakokku jetty. (Photo-Thet Htein Win)
    Myanmar plans to export 0.2 million tonnes of parboiled rice and 0.3 million tonnes of white rice to Sri Lanka under a memorandum of understanding this year, according to Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). The National Food Authority of the Philippines has invited a bid for the contract to buy about 50,000 tonnes of rice, according to the Commerce Ministry. Khin Maung Lwin, the assistant permanent secretary at the Commerce Ministry, said: “The Philippines has proposed the lowest price. We will win the tender if the price is fair. The Myanmar Rice Federation has already discussed with rice exporters on tender conditions and the loading of rice.” The MRF has sent tender prices to Manila. Myanmar can send 50,000 tonnes of rice to the Philippines in October and November if it wins the tender. Currently, Myanmar is exporting rice to Africa, the EU and within Asean. Thanks to the expansion of new rice markets, it exported nearly 700,000 tonnes of rice and broken rice until the end of June this fiscal year. Until July this financial year, the sector earned US$160 million from the export of 522,440 million tonnes of rice. The same period last year, the sector generated more than US$71 million from the export of more than 200,000 tonnes of rice, according to the Commerce Ministry.
  • Stable Myanmar Rice Sees Interest From New Foreign Markets

  • Demand for Myan­mar rice amongst foreign buyers is on the rise with high prices in neighbouring countries forcing buyers to look elsewhere, accord­ing to the Myanmar Rice Federation. While the price per tonne of Vietnamese and Thai rice is increasing, Myanmar rice remains stable which is driving demand in new foreign markets. “Currently we don’t have a government to government scheme, we operate through business to business connections and we are seeing a devel­oping demand for Myan­mar rice,” said U Nay Lin Zin, General Secretary of the Myanmar Rice Fed­eration. “Previously, there was demand for 3000 tonnes of rice, now it’s 4500 tonnes and there are long­er contract periods.” A tonne of Thai white rice containing 5 percent broken rice, known as 5-mark rice, has increased to $455 from $438 while Vietnamese 5-mark in­creased by $30 a tonne, up to $390. Myanmar 5-mark cur­rently earns $366 per tonne and prices are sta­ble. Recent price develop­ments means Myanmar rice exports are breaking into new markets. “We have new buyers from Ghana and Ivory Coast, and demand from European countries is stable. Maritime exports are increasing,” U Aung Myint, Treasurer of the Myanmar Rice Federa­tion, said. Rice exports in April, the first month of the fis­cal year, reached 290,000 tonnes, 200,000 more than last April. Until the third week of May rice ex­ports reached more than 350,000 tonnes, Ministry of Commerce statistics show. Last year, 80 percent of Myanmar rice exports went to China while the rest went to Europe and regional neighbours. 1.8 million tonnes of rice was exported in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, while in 2015-2016, rice exports reached 1.47 mil­lion tonnes, according to ministry statistics. Last year rice exports topped 1.7 million tonnes and are expected to hit 2 million tonnes this fiscal year.
  • Govt must protect exporters: rice chiefs

  •  

    Writer: 
    Nilar
    The Muse trade centre (Photo-Tun Nay Hlaing/EMG)

    The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) is working to push the government to prioritise making sure bilateral rice trade with China is unaffected by the freezing of Burmese traders' bank accounts.

    The MRF’s chairman sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador and its general secretary met the Chinese economic attaché to discuss the matter.

    The federation said it was asking the government to investigate the situation to prevent it happening again.

    State-run TV reported that among the 349 bank accounts frozen by China in a bid to clamp down on smuggling and illegal gambling, there were 132 bank accounts owned by citizens of Myanmar.

    Annual bilateral trade is around US$10 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

    The ministry said the country’s total foreign trade was around US$30 billion.

    Normally Chinese banks can unlock a bank account within six months if it is frozen. However, some can be blocked for years. Muse accounted for about 70 per cent of total border trade and the government should prevent financial loss for its traders, business representatives said.

  • Myanmar (Burma): Brown rice prices unstable

  • Thai News Service The price of brown rice has been unsteady in the domestic market, according to rice merchants. Merchants speculate that the unsteady price is due to Chinese buyers who have come to Ayeyawady Region to buy the rice directly. A Yangon-based merchant said: They [Chinese] pay whatever price the sellers ask, making the domestic market prices unstable. The price of a sack of brown rice from Myaungmya, Ayeyawady, jumped from Ks19,000 (US$14) to Ks22,000 between April and May. The prices may vary with the type and quality of rice. I think the market prices may fall. Formerly, they bought rice through brokers. So Yangon brokers were careful not to hurt market prices. Now the Chinese are bypassing the brokers. They purchase rice at the asked price so the prices rise and domestic brokers can't compete with them. When they stop buying, the prices fall and the market becomes inactive, said the merchant. Chit Khine, chairman of the Myanmar Rice Federation, told a workshop on April 29 that he asked the government to do something about the situation since it could hurt the market in the long run. Chinese buyers are buying rice directly in Bago and Yangon regions. I've requested the government to control them with a trade policy since they disrupt domestic trading. The country's rice trade heavily depends on China and the business becomes inactive when the Chinese government seizes Myanmar rice because it is unofficial in China. There was an agreement in 2014 over the export of 100,000 tonnes of rice by sea. There are no more contracts since. Source: Eleven Media Group
  • Conference held to boost Myanmar’s rice industry

  • rice
     
    YANGON, MYANMAR — The International Finance Corp. (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, partnered with The Rice Trader (TRT) and the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) to organize an international conference to support the sustainable development of Myanmar’s rice industry and its regional trade. The Myanmar Rice Network 2017, held April 28, brought together local rice millers and exporters, global rice traders and industry specialists to help strengthen the country’s growing rice market. “The Rice Trader is honored to host this important seminar as recognition to Myanmar’s rise and importance in the global rice trade,” said Jeremy Zwinger, president and chief executive officer at TRT. “This meeting is a timely gathering that looks at how Myanmar will set its course towards growing exports and the value from these rice exports.” U Ye Min Aung, secretary general from the MRF, said the conference serves as a platform for information exchange among key stakeholders, “allowing all to gain a better understanding of the market and the opportunities presented, to network and explore business deals.” The groups involved in the conference believe that greater investment in production standards and quality control will allow Myanmar’s rice industry to flourish, especially given its existing cross-border trade with China and sales to Africa and Europe. Myanmar is seeking to address trade challenges by developing logistics, streamlining its supply chain and helping to improve access to markets. Supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the government of Japan and the U.K. Department for International Development, the industry event promises to impart business intelligence while also offering exporters, traders and buyers valuable peer networking opportunities. “With its industry expertise, IFC is well-positioned to help Myanmar become a leading rice exporter in Asia as it used to be, improving livelihoods of millions of farmers and contributing to economic growth,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC country manager for Myanmar. “We will support key stakeholders such as farmers, millers and traders to boost rice production and quality as well as enhancing the sector’s competitiveness to respond to international market opportunities.” The IFC has significantly scaled up its engagement in agribusiness in recent years. In the fiscal year ended in June 2016, IFC’s global investments across the agribusiness supply chain totaled $3.4 billion. The group aims to help boost production, increase liquidity, improve logistics and distribution, and expand access to credit for small farmers. At the end of the fiscal year, IFC’s agribusiness portfolio stood at $5.6 billion. 
  • Multi Origin Rice Valuable Info

  • Rice Today | April - June, 2017 Vol. 16 No. 2
  • 70% of rice exported to China

  • Submitted by Eleven on Mon, 02/13/2017 - 17:09
    Writer:
    Nilar
    Myanmar exports rice to over 50 countries and more than 70 per cent of exported rice goes to China, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
    Traders export rice to China via both border routes and shipping lanes but use the former more.
    Between April 2016 and January 2017, the country exported 1.15 million tonnes of rice and broken rice and earned more than US$ 370 million. But that amount is less than that of the same period last year by about 150,000 tonnes. In 2015-16, the country exported 1.5 million tonnes of rice.
    The ministry is hopeful that it will meet last year’s record since it has received offers for government-to-government rice-trade deals.
    Assistant permanent secretary Khin Maung Lwin at the ministry said: “Foreign countries have offered to buy rice under a government-to-government deal. Sri Lanka now wants to import Myanmar's rice.”
    Five companies have won contracts for the export of 50,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka by June, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation.
    Chinese authorities have confiscated the rice imported from Myanmar at the border as smuggled goods due to restrictions on imports, and the Muse border trade halted temporarily due to armed conflicts between government forces and armed rebels in November reducing total export.
    Translated by Nay Thiha
  • Five Myanmar firms to export rice to Sri Lanka

  • Yangon, 13 February, (Asiantribune.com):
    Five companies have won contracts for the export of 50,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka by June, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation. Commerce minister Dr Than Myint held talks with a delegation led by the Sri Lanka ambassador to Myanmar, KWND Karunaratne, at his office in Nay Pyi Taw on January 23 and signed a memorandum of understanding on rice exports. An MRF official said: “We invited companies to submit bids for rice exports to Sri Lanka. Only 10 companies applied. Of them, we have selected five companies.” Sri Lanka’s rice production has declined by about 200,000 tonnes after a drought last year. Sri Lanka is reducing rising rice prices and the control of rice millers by reducing import tariffs. Since April, Myanmar has exported 1.15 million tonnes of rice and broken rice, down nearly 150,000 tonnes from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. With more countries offering to buy rice from Myanmar, exports are expected to reach last year’s level, said Khin Maung Lwin, assistant permanent secretary of the ministry. In 2015-16, the country exported 1.5 million tonnes of rice. Myanmar has exported rice to Sri Lanka in the past, but only in small quantities and without any agreement at the government level.