The Ministry of Commerce will investigate the destruction of 18,000 tons of Myanmar rice deemed ‘unfit for consumption’ at Cote d’lvoire.
“We will hold a meeting with the organizations and companies concerned with rice export to look into the case,” said U Khin Maung Lwin, Assistant Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce yesterday.
“We will carry out the necessary steps and study this case in detail, so that we can prevent such incidents in the future, and determine what type of cooperation is required between the ministries and organizations concerned,” he added.
“Rice from Myanmar is exported under the FOB system, and the exporter is not liable for the quality of rice being transported on a ship, according to the system,” he said, adding that a third-party has to check and scrutinize the rice on board.
The rice destroyed at Ivory Coast was not directly sold by a Myanmar company. It was reportedly exported by a Myanmar company through the FOB system to a Singaporean company, which exported the rice to Africa.
A total of 22,000 tons of rice was exported to Guinea, Africa, in October last year, and about 4,000 tons of rice was unloaded there. But, the remaining 18,000 tons of rice was rejected in Guinea and Togo.
As the rice was rejected, the company asked the ministry to bring the rice back to Myanmar, and the ministry issued a license to bring back the consignment of rice.
“When we asked the company concerned, at first, they replied that they would bring the rice back to Myanmar, but, later, they said they would unload the rice at Ivory Coast. When the problem happened, the rice had been stored in cargo for six to seven months,” said U Khin Maung Lwin.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar Rice Federation announced yesterday that it would try and resolve the issue, and that it has contacted the BBC reporter and the African News Agency, who covered the story. The MRF said it is also trying to identify the Myanmar company which exported the rice to the Singapore company.
“This case can affect Myanmar’s rice exports to a certain extent. But, we will explain the cause of the problem to the international community. The rice was held in cargo for several months and the problem happened. We will explore the real situation and will make it public,” said U Ye Min Aung, President, MRF.
Myanmar exports about 2-3 million tons of rice, of which, about 1 million tons goes to the African market.
There is strong competition in the African market between companies from Myanmar, Viet Nam, Pakistan, and India.— Thi Thi Min, Min Thit