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April 19, 2019

Rice supply to Muse halted as stores pile up

Labourers carry rice bags at Botahtaung Harbour in Yangon .  Photo: Phoe Khwar

About 50,000 tons of rice meant for export to China has piled up at Muse, prompting merchants to halt supply of rice to the gate, said U Min Thein, vice chair, Muse rice depot.
“About 50,000 tons of rice is lying in the Muse border area. China has suspended trade since 25 February. However, some rice trade is being strictly conducted through permits. There is no space in Muse for storing more rice. Therefore, rice supply to Muse has been halted,” said U Min Thein.
“Soon, summer rice for this year is going to enter the market. The market will have a good potential only if the rice pile-up at Muse gate is cleared,” said rice merchants.
“The rice that has piled up at Muse is monsoon rice. Sure, trade of summer rice will be forced to a halt as long as monsoon rice stocks last. Entry of summer rice into the market will lead to a drop in price. Only merchants will suffer from this,” said a rice merchant.
At the 25th regular meeting with entrepreneurs, led by Vice President U Myint Swe, held on 15 March, Myanmar Rice Federation President U Ye Min Aung and Vice President U Aung Than Oo asked the government to prioritize negotiations with the Yunnan provincial government and buyers.
“It will be better if the Ministry of Commerce can negotiate a Government-to-Government (G to G) agreement for rice trade through the Sino-Myanmar border. This charge is apparently held by the central government, not the provincial government. Therefore, the governments of the two countries need to negotiate to deal with this,” said U Min Thein, vice chair, Muse rice depot.
At the meeting with Vice President U Myint Swe, the MRF also requested that the government help farmers get a decent price during harvest, a G-to-G agreement be reached to help small and medium rice enterprises conduct trade smoothly, the quota for rice and broken rice export to China be raised, and the MoU be implemented at the soonest.
Myanmar exports rice to its trade partners through the maritime routes and border gates. China has been clamping down on illegal trade, prompting its dealers to halt trade, resulting in a drop in rice exports through the Myanmar border channels.
“The Ministry of Commerce has forwarded a request to China, seeking a legal export channel for rice through the border gates, and so, Myanmar merchants need to make the necessary preparations for meeting China’s quality standards in order to pass its food safety inspection mechanism — the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ),” said U Aung Htoo, the Deputy Minister for Commerce.
Between 1 April, 2018 and 15 February, 2019, Myanmar exported 2.115 million tons of rice and broken rice, worth an estimated US$699.46 million.
Of the 3.6 million tons of rice shipped by Myanmar, half was sent to China through the border gates.
By Nyein Nyein(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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