Govt to permit paddy exports this month
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.
A farmer works at a paddy field in Nay Pyi Taw in April.