Govt to per­mit paddy ex­ports this month

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - thanhtoo@mm­times.com HTOO THANT – Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

The govern­ment is plan­ning to lift a re­stric­tion on ex­port­ing raw paddy for Novem­ber only in or­der to ad­dress a slump in prices, ac­cord­ing to the com­merce min­istry.

MA­JOR pro­duc­ers will be al­lowed to ex­port paddy, in Novem­ber only, pend­ing con­fir­ma­tion from the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent, of­fi­cials say. Com­merce Min­is­ter U Than Myint said his min­istry will al­low tem­po­rary ex­ports to offset pro­duc­tion costs for farm­ers, against a back­ground of sharply fall­ing prices for rainy-sea­son paddy.

The min­is­ter was speak­ing at a trade-re­lated con­fer­ence at Nay Pyi Taw’s Hil­ton Ho­tel on Novem­ber 3. Speak­ing on be­half of deputy sec­re­tary U Khin Maung Lwin, who is trav­el­ling, com­merce min­istry deputy di­rec­tor U Myat Moe Kyaw said of­fi­cials had al­ready be­gun to im­ple­ment the de­ci­sion.

“We’re still draw­ing up a plan for al­low­ing paddy ex­ports in Novem­ber alone,” he said. The min­istry will seek per­mis­sion from the Pres­i­dent’s Of­fice, as well as rec­om­men­da­tions from the Min­istry of Agriculture, Live­stock and Ir­ri­ga­tion, he said.

‘We’re still draw­ing up a plan for al­low­ing paddy ex­ports in Novem­ber.’

U Myat Moe Kyaw Min­istry of Com­merce

The govern­ment has typ­i­cally only al­lowed the ex­port of paddy – as op­posed to un­husked rice – in spe­cial cir­cum­stances. The com­merce min­istry said that the ex­port to China of pearl thwel seeds, a type of paddy, was al­lowed last year in lim­ited quan­ti­ties.

But the sharp fall in rice prices this year has prompted this plan to help offset farm­ers’ pro­duc­tion costs. Agriculture min­istry deputy per­ma­nent sec­re­tary U Myo Tint Tun told The Myan­mar Times the min­istry would sup­port the plan if do­mes­tic con­sump­tion was in sur­plus. “We will look at this year’s pro­duc­tion and will cal­cu­late any sur­plus. If pro­duc­tion is enough to cover do­mes­tic con­sump­tion, we will sup­port it,” he said.

U Myat Moe Kyaw said the largest rice ex­porters as of Oc­to­ber would re­ceive pri­or­ity in be­ing granted ex­port per­mis­sion. “We will select com­pa­nies on the ba­sis of how much rice they ex­ported, and the sound­ness of their fi­nan­cial po­si­tion,” he said.

U Hla Tun, a farmer from Nay Pyi Taw’s Py­in­mana town­ship, said the plan could ben­e­fit farm­ers, but the govern­ment should take a de­ci­sion soon. “The plan could work, but only if it’s done in time. To­day is al­ready Novem­ber 7, and the plan still has to be sub­mit­ted,” he said.

Rice mill owner Ko Nay Soe said the suc­cess of the plan re­quired early ap­proval. Rainy-sea­son paddy is be­ing har­vested, but prices are fluc­tu­at­ing. U Hla Tun said the go­ing price was be­tween K380,000 and K400,000 per 100 bas­kets, but no trans­ac­tions had yet oc­curred. Farm­ers said this year’s heavy rains had brought ex­tra costs and waste.

Photo: EPA

A farmer works at a paddy field in Nay Pyi Taw in April.

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