Myanmar and Japan Cooperate to Produce Quality Rice Amid Shortage

Myanmar and Japan will cooperate to produce quality rice seeds under a local project, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Myo Tint Tun, said.

The project, which will take 5 years from September 2017 to February 2023, comes amid a shortage of quality rice seeds in Myanmar. The country has 17 million acres of paddy fields, a large swathe of which is unable to yield quality produce owing to weather conditions and poorly managed infrastructure.

“The project is mainly to fulfill quality rice seed requirements and it will be implemented in cooperation with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” U Myo Tint Tun said. Production will take place across 26 townships in the Ayeyarwady Region and across 7 townships in the Sagaing Region.

Myanmar is trying to restore its former position as a chief rice exporter in ASEAN. It is aiming to export 2 million tonnes of rice in 2017-18. Currently, Myanmar exports between 1.5 million and 2 million tonnes of rice, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation.

But there are difficulties in meeting the market’s requirements on quality, price and volume, officials and merchants said.

“We have many varieties of rice and buyer countries do not like the quality of many varieties produced [in Myanmar] very much,” Nay Pyi Taw-based rice mill owner Ko Nay Soe said.

And for the varieties which do meet export standards, difficulties arise in amassing the required amounts demanded owing to poorly maintained roads, irrigation canals and rice mills. Poor research efforts are also a factor. So far, the Agriculture and Agricultural Research Department has not been able to produce enough quality seeds despite the country’s ample amount of harvestable fields.

Price is another issue. “For Pawsan rice, the domestic price is higher than the foreign price. So most buyers resort to importing rice from China,” Ko Nay Soe said.

As such, the Agriculture and Agricultural Research Department will work with JICA on research and technology as well as the production, multiplication, distribution and promotion of new quality rice seeds in the Ayeyarwady and Sagaing Regions.

Source: Myanmar Times

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