Rice Export Volume Drops

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 23 January 2017

RANGOON — The rice export volume has declined this fiscal year due to flooding and a slowdown in demand from China, rice traders said.

The rice export volume for the 2016-17 fiscal year is expected to reach 1 million tons, which is less than the 2015-16 export volume of 1.3 million tons, said U Ye Min Aung, secretary-general of the Myanmar Rice Federation.

From April-Dec. 2016, 800,000 tons of rice were exported, primarily to China, the EU and West African countries, according to the federation.

“We are now talking with the Sri Lankan government to send rice there, as they are facing a shortage due to weather problems,” said U Ye Min Aung, adding that this would contribute to the 1 million-ton export estimate for this year.

In Burma, “monsoon season paddies” are mainly planted between June and August, and harvested beginning in October. “Dry season paddies”—cultivated in smaller quantities due to the lack of irrigation in many areas—are planted largely between November and December and harvested beginning in April.

U Chan Tha Oo, a rice trader in Shan State’s Muse Township, said there were a few particularly bad months for rice exports to China this year, particularly in April and October 2016.

The average price fetched from trading to China is US$376 per ton, while overseas it is about $300 per ton, he said.

“The market with China is unstable, but it offers better prices than overseas trading,” he added.

Flooding last year—caused by torrential rain that peaked in late July and early August—inundated more than 1.3 million acres of rice paddies, out of 20 million acres being cultivated across the country.