Rice price rises in Nay Pyi Taw

The Myanmar Times - - Business - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com

TO the sur­prise of in­dus­try in­sid­ers, the price of rice in Nay Pyi Taw con­tin­ues to rise. As of the last week of July, the price of one pop­u­lar brand had reached al­most K850,000 per 100 tins (each tin holds 9 gal­lons), en­trepreneurs said.

Rates have been ris­ing since May de­spite China’s re­fusal to le­galise rice im­ports from Myan­mar.

Ko Myo Linn Aung, who runs a rice stor­age fa­cil­ity in Py­in­mana town­ship, said the price of Ma Naw Thu Kha rice has reached al­most K840,000 per 100 tins. “It rose by K20,000 to K30,000 just this month. The brand was sell­ing at K750,000 in May, reach­ing K800,000 in June,” he said.

The price of other strains is also ris­ing. Pearl Thwe cost K550,000 per 100 tins in June, but was sell­ing at al­most K600,000 this week. Less sought-af­ter brands are go­ing for K500,000 to K600,000 per 100 tins.

Myan­mar’s most pop­u­lar rice strains, Paw San Hmwe and Aye­yar Min, are not traded in Nay Pyi Taw.

Deal­ers are scratch­ing their heads over the price rise. “This year is quite strange. The price is ris­ing even though China has not is­sued any rice im­port per­mits. Usu­ally, the value of rice goes up when the Chi­nese mar­ket opens,” said U Nay Soe on July 24.

Myan­mar is try­ing to re­gain its po­si­tion as a ma­jor world rice ex­porter and is en­cour­ag­ing farm­ers to sell to for­eign mar­kets. Rice strains such as Paw San Hmwe and Aye­yar Pa­day Thar have been par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar over­seas, deputy agri­cul­ture min­is­ter U Tun Win told farm­ers in Magwe Re­gion on July 12.

How­ever, some cus­tomers are ques­tion­ing the qual­ity of Myan­mar rice, he said. A ship­ment to In­done­sia was held at the Surabaya Port ear­lier this year for three months for fail­ing to com­ply with In­done­sian rules.

“We heard they were re­con­sid­er­ing how much rice they wanted from Myan­mar. In the mean­time, our rice does not meet the food safety cri­te­ria in a num­ber of mar­kets, and has oc­ca­sion­ally been re­jected,” said U Nay Soe.

Nay Pyi Taw is re­garded as a rel­a­tively ex­pen­sive mar­ket for rice and other food­stuffs.

Ko Myo Lin Aung said, “Prices are higher in Nay Pyi Taw than the rest of the coun­try. The rice we store here is bought in from Bago Re­gion.”

Traders be­lieve prices are likely to con­tinue to rise. U Nay Soe said, “The high­est prices in the year come in Au­gust, with the end of the sum­mer paddy and be­fore the rainy sea­son paddy is har­vested.” – Translation by Emoon

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