Rice exports in the first five months of the current fiscal year are up by 960,000 tons and $214 million from last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
In the same period of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Myanmar traders exported 400,000 tons and generated $161 million in trade revenue. This year 1.36 million tons of rice have been exported and over $375 million has been made.
Perhaps the most significant contributing factor to this boom, is the expansion of export destinations, primarily to the African continent.
In 2017 rice was exported to 53 countries versus only 31 countries in 2016.
Among the new 22 trade destinations, 15 are African countries Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Guinea, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Djibouti, Niger, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Kanya, Mauritania and Nigeria.
However, China, Belgian, Bangladesh, and Madagascar remain the primary importers of Myanmar’s prized export.
“We expect to export 2 million tons of rice in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Reaching that target is very much within our sights given the data released regarding the first five months. This year we are exporting both white and parboiled rice,” U Khin Maung Lwin, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Commerce, said.
In early September, Myanmar signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh to export 300,000 tons of rice annually. The government is actively pursuing similar government-to-governmnet deals because of their guaranteed security and ease of cooperation.