The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) set the basic price of paddy (low quality variety) for the upcoming summer and monsoon crop seasons yesterday, according to a press release by MRF Stakeholder Forum 2018.
The price is Ks500,000 per 100 baskets (one basket is equivalent to 46 pounds) of paddy. Rice merchants, rice mills, agents and private companies, and members of MRF will purchase the paddy at the set rate if it is in line with the prescribed criteria, namely having 14 per cent moisture content and a fixed per cent of impurities, such as sand, weed and small stones.
If the market price is above the basic price, the merchants have to purchase the paddy at the prevailing price. However, paddy will be bought at the set price when the cost is lower than the actual market price, the press release mentioned.
The price of the most common variety of paddy usually drops during harvest. To give priority to the interests of farmers working on a manageable scale, MRF decided to set the rate.
Quality paddies such as Pawsan fetched a good price of Ks700,000 to Ks1 million per 100 baskets. These paddies will be bought at the prevailing market price.
“An increase in the paddy price accrues healthy profits for farmers. Currently, the shortage of labour in rural areas has led to high labour costs. An acre of paddy cultivation, including inputs, costs some Ks250,000. Last year, farmers earned only a small profit when the price dropped to some Ks450,000 per 100 baskets. Setting a basic price for paddy greatly benefits farmers,” said U Hla Win, a farmer from Wakema Township.
Summer paddy will be harvested in some regions soon. A 100 baskets now brings in Ks580,000, but the price is likely to be lower than the current market price in mid-March and the end of May, he said.
The press release also noted that MRF would lead the private rice millers and companies to promote the export market and help farmers get a decent price during harvest time.
Additionally, the press release showed that MRF will fix the basic price depending on the production cost and benefits to farmers, as well as the domestic and international market prices in the years to come.
Farmers who have difficulties selling the paddy at the set price can contact the township representatives and MRF.
In 2020, MRF aims to export 4 million tonnes of rice beyond self-sufficiency, boost the production of quality rice and increase earnings through the rice export sector to up to US$1.5 billion.
By May Thet Hnin