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May 21, 2019

Cote d’ Ivoire a wake-up call for world’s top rice exporter

The destruction of a shipment of rice at Cote d’Ivoire has been a wake-up call for Myanmar to look into the process through which it exports rice.
A review has found that a Singaporean company bought the rice from three Myanmar companies — 13,500 metric tons from the Shwe-Wah-Yaung Company, 500 tons from the Ayeya Hintha Company, and 8,000 from MEC —to sell it in Guinea, Africa.
A vessel,MV-Ocean Prince, arrived in Yangon to transport the shipment of rice at the end of August last year. Due to the rainy season, it took about two and half months to load the rice. The vessel left Yangon with 22,000 tons of rice on 15 October, 2018. It then proceeded to India, where it was loaded with 14,000 tons of rice. It left India in November last year and arrived in Guinea at the end of December.
After 4,000 tons of rice were unloaded in Guinea, a quality control company complained that the rice bags weighed only 45 kilos instead of 50 kilos. Despite meeting the required standards, the rice was rejected at Togo and Cote d’Ivoire due to media reports in Guinea.
The Singaporean company sought permission for bringing the rice consignment back to Myanmar, and the Ministry of Commerce issued repair and return permits to the company, and made arrangements to inspect the rice when it arrived.
However, the vessel did not return. Problems arose when the vessel unloaded rice at Cote d’lvoire so it could be docked for repairs before returning to Myanmar.
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.
However, the authorities will scrutinize the case thoroughly, and determine the real reasons behind the problem soon. They will find out who bears responsibility in the case, which can affect Myanmar’s rice exports to a certain extent.
Sadly, this problem arose one year after Myanmar regained its former position as the world’s top rice exporter. Meanwhile, the EU has imposed a safeguard duty on Myanmar rice in an attempt to protect growers in member countries.
Myanmar, as a country entering a strong market, has faced intense competition. There is strong competition in the African market, but it must remain fair.
Cooperation is required between the concerned ministries, organizations, traders, and rice millers to retain our top rice exporter crown.

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