As per sources, the cross border rice exports to China through the northern borders is continuing in spite of the imposition of a temporary ban on rice exports in Myanmar. The country halted rice exports in the first week of August until mid-September as more than about 15% of paddy fields or about 400,000 hectares were damaged by the floods and such decision was taken to control price hikes in the flood-affected areas.
According to the information revealed that unofficial rice exports through the Muse border in the northern Shan state has been continuing in small light trucks or cars and exporting rice to China by labeling as other commodities. Through these unofficial exports, the price of every variety of rice in Muse has increased by around K 1,500 (around $1.16) per bag as compared to the Mandalay market.
The officials of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) reported earlier that any trader contravening the export ban would face strict action. However, some traders are currently restricting themselves to guidelines but oppose an extension of the ban. Meanwhile, Joint Secretary of the MRF assured that the ban would be lifted as planned on September 15.
Further, the Myanmar has reportedly lost about 200,000 tons of rice exports during the last month. The MRF is expecting this year’s rice exports to be lower than last year. The officials also stated that though we expected to export about 2 million tons of rice this year, but may not reach that target, but now it is expected to export less than 1.5 million tons. In this context, it has also been said that the Myanmar is a net exporter of rice and its exports have been increasing consistently for the past few years. The country exported around 1.8 million tons of rice in 2014, while the MRF expects a paddy output of around 14 million tons (around 8.96 million tons, basis milled) in 2015.
According to the reports, the China is a major destination for Myanmar rice, but most of the rice is exported to China through Myanmar’s northern borders. However, the Chinese authorities have banned unofficial exports through borders in August 2014 seeking a trade agreement between the two countries. It has been stressed that China is particular about that the exported rice should meet its quality and health standards. As per USDA estimates , that Myanmar is to produce 20 million tons of paddy rice (around 12.8 million tons, milled basis) and to export around 2.2 million tons of rice in MY 2015-16 (January – December 2015).