By Maung Sein Lwin (Myanma Alin)
This year will be a good one for agriculture in Rakhine State, Rakhine State Minister for Planning, Finance, Revenue and Commerce U Kyaw Aye Thein said yesterday, as it was reported 10,000 tonnes of matpe beans will be imported to India.
The encouraging news was revealed during a meeting of Dr. Than Myint, the Union Minister for Commerce and U Kyaw Aye Thein, Rakhine State Minster for Planning, Finance, Revenue and Commerce with the Rakhine State people yesterday.
U Kyaw Aye Thein said arrangements are underway to plant matpe in Rakhine State during the coming rainy season and to export in excess of 10,000 tonnes in 2017-2018 to India. In doing this, it will be exported directly to India from Sittway port,if possible, instead of via Yangon to increase trade in Rakhine State.
But a potential problem is that only vessels weighing a maximum of 3,000 tons can berth at the Sittway port. If a new port is built in Sittway, this will become a major transfer point capable of exporting pulses and beans directly to India.
“I am submitting this matter to the Union Minister for him to submit onward at the union level”, U Kyw Aye Thein said.
It is learnt that there were border trade stations in Sittway Township and Maungtaw Township where trade volumes were high in the past, but due to the current situation, trade values were only around US$5 million. In order to improve this situation, the Rakhine state government is finalising the setting up of a trade zone in Kanyinchaung, Maungtaw Township this year. The construction of the Kanyinchaung trade zone was begun in 2015 with a total cost of Ks1 billion – Ks 600 million from the government and Ks400 million from local business persons.
It is learnt that the state government’s grand plan for the development of Rakhine State is divided into north, middle and south zones. Matpe planting is the main activity of the agriculture and livestock sector in the north zone, while the travel sector will be developed in the MraukU. Matpe planting is being done now, and fresh water fish breeding has also started in Kyauktaw.
If the breeding of fresh and seawater fish is successful, it will help to increase the declining trade with neighbouring Bangladesh.