The rice export volume has declined this fiscal year due to flooding and a slowdown in demand from China. According to secretary-general of the Myanmar Rice Federation, U Ye Min Aung, the rice export volume for the 2016-17 fiscal year is expected to reach 1 million tonnes, which is less than the 2015-16 export volume of 1.3 million tonnes. In the period of April-December, 2016, 800,000 Metric Tonnes of rice was exported, mainly to China, the EU and West African countries, according to the federation. “We are now talking with the Sri Lankan government to send rice there, as they are facing a shortage due to weather problems,” said U Ye Min Aung. However this would only contribute to the 1 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT), as against 1.3 MMT export estimate for this year.
In Myanmar, “monsoon season paddies” are mainly planted between June and August, and harvest begins from October. As against this, “dry season paddies” is cultivated in smaller quantities due to the lack of irrigation in many areas and are planted usually between November and December and harvested from April onwards. Mr. U Chan Tha Oo, a rice trader in Shan State’s Muse Township, said there were a few particularly bad months for rice exports to China this year, particularly in April and October 2016. The average price fetched from trading to China is US$376 per ton, while to overseas countries; it is about $300 per ton. He said, “The market with China is unstable, but it offers better prices than overseas trading.” Flooding last year, caused due to excessive torrential rain that peaked in late July and early August, inundated more than 1.3 million acres of rice paddies, out of the total 20 million acres being cultivated across the country. This has led to the reduced rice export this year till now.