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July 03, 2020

Myanmar negotiates with China for legal soybean export

The General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) has sent questions related to food safety and import procedures to Myanmar’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, in order to import Myanmar’s soybeans through legitimate channel. Following the trade war between China and the US, China has reduced importation of soybean from the US and turned to Asian markets. China yearly imports by about 90 million tonnes of soybeans. As a result of this, the growers from the northern Shan State of Myanmar started to cultivate soybeans of American origin on a trial basis. If the legal channel emerges, the growers in Shan State will increase their incomes. The related ministries are endeavouring to export soybeans to a larger market like China, coordinating closely with GACC, according to the news released by the Commerce Ministry online. Normally, Myanmar sends soybeans to China through the Muse border in the current fiscal year. In addition to the China market, Myanmar’s soybeans are also delivered to Thailand to a small extent. It is also shipped to India through maritime trade. Soybeans are used for oil, animal feed and other non-food industrial products. The biggest challenge of Myanmar’s soybean production is the decline in the number of soybean acres in the previous years. Between 2013-2014FY and 2018-2019FY, over 40,000 acres of soybean farms dropped. The pedigree seed is also crucial for a good yield, extraction of soybean oil and value-added production. The Standardization Technical Sub-Committee for Agricultural Products has drawn up standards and specifications for agricultural products including soybean, according to the Agriculture and Market Information Agency. Myanmar’s soybean sector needs technical support for pre-harvest diseases and post-harvest losses, along with market exploration. At present, the growers turn to soybean due to the market potentials, and the seed demand has risen. There are over 360,000 acres of soybeans in Myanmar this fiscal, which is up from over 340,000 acres registered in the 2018-2019FY. Myanmar’s soybean export is remarkably increasing year over year. The country exported over 1,700 tonnes of soybeans in 2016, 2,000 tonnes in 2017, over 7,000 tonnes in 2018-2019 Fiscal Year.—Htet Myat  (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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