Myanmar is recently expanding its rice exports. Agricultural officials of the country who were visiting Japan told the Japan Agricultural News on Tuesday, Aug. 26 that the country’s rice exports are expected to reach 3 million tons next year. They said rice production increased through mechanization and introduction of irrigation systems, and the quality of rice improved thanks to the latest milling facilities. They said they also plan to increase exports to the Japanese market.
Ye Min Soe, general manager of Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation, said they have been shipping low quality rice with broken grains mainly to the African market, but shifted their focus to exporting high quality rice to the global market. He said it would be possible to export 3 million tons of rice in 2015. As Myanmar exported 5,000 tons of rice to Japan in fiscal 2012 and 6,000 tons in 2013, the country is interested in exporting more rice to Japan, he said.
Myanmar used to be the largest rice exporter in the world until the early 1960s, but the amount of rice export decreased significantly after the military junta took power. But along with the democratization of the country in recent years, foreign aids increased, contributing to improving productivity of farming and quality of farm products through expansion of production facilities and introduction of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Myanmar produced nearly 12 million tons of rice and exported roughly 1.2 million tons annually in the last two years.
Professor Myo Kywe, Vice President of Yezin Agricultural University and a doctor educated in Germany, told the newspaper: “Since agricultural policies in Myanmar have turned market-oriented, an increasing number of famers are becoming interested in the profitable exporting market. So it is likely for our country to boost rice exports in the future.”
The two officials were visiting Japan as members of a delegation from Myanmar invited by Asian Productivity Organization, or APO, headquartered in Tokyo.
(Aug. 27, 2014)