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July 13, 2020

Opposition from Thai growers delaying Myanmar-Thailand corn purchase MoU: ministry

Farmers loading the vehicle with corns in their farm in NyaungU. Photo; Ko Htein
Farmers loading the vehicle with corns in their farm in NyaungU. Photo; Ko Htein

Myanmar and Thailand have not yet signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a year-long purchase of corn as growers from Thailand are opposing such an agreement, according to news released online by the Ministry of Commerce.
Under a bilateral agreement between Thailand and Myanmar, corn exports were to be exempt from tax from 1 February to 31 August. Normally, Myanmar’s corn exports to Thailand are suspended for five months (September-January), according to the Myanmar Corn Farmers’ Association.
“The trade is quite slow as the prices offered by Thailand cannot cover transportation and input costs. Starting from January, Thailand’s traders purchased corn and kept it in a warehouse located in Myawady,” it stated.
At present, Myanmar’s corn is fetching 103 baht per 15 kilograms. Myanmar produces about 11 million tons of corn per year, and half of it is consumed domestically.
Myanmar shipped over 100,000 tons of corn to other countries during October-November in the current financial year compared to 200,000 tons in the year-ago period.
As China is the major purchaser of Myanmar corn, the price is positively related to demand from the neighboring country. However, it has been one year since China suspended the importation of some agro products through the border gates, thereby forcing corn traders to turn to the Thailand market.
Besides China, Myanmar also exports corn to India, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand. But, the volume of exports to those markets is low.
There are more than 1.9 million acres of corn plantations in Myanmar, primarily in Sagaing and Magway regions, and Chin, Kayin, Shan, and Kayah states.
As per data from the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar exported 1.5 million tons of corn, worth US$270 million, in the 2018-2019FY; 1.4 million tons of corn, worth over $290 million, in the 2017-2018FY; 1.2 million tons of corn, worth $250 million, in the 2016-2017FY; and, 1.1 million tons of corn, worth $300 million, in the 2015-2016FY.—Ko Htet
(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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