According to the government-to-government pact between Myanmar and Bangladesh, Myanmar has conveyed over 140,000 tonnes of white rice to Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar.
Myanmar and Bangladesh inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice trade on 8 September this year.
In line with this MoU, Bangladesh has agreed to buy 250,000 tonnes of white rice and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Myanmar yearly between 2022 and 2027.
In accordance with the MoU, Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Food and Myanmar Rice Federation signed a sales contract for 200,000 tonnes of Myanmar’s white rice to be exported to Bangladesh. As per the sales contract, Myanmar has exported a total of 143,225 tonnes of white rice by 19 ships to Bangladesh as of 12 December 2022. The remaining will be delivered by the deadline.
As per the MoU between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the rice trade, 48 companies, under the supervision of the Myanmar Rice Federation, are to export 200,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh with Chinese yuan payment between October 2022 and January 2023.
Following the contract, white rice (ATAP) GPCT Broken STX variety will be delivered. The FOB prices were 2.78856 Yuan per kilo and 2,788.56 Yuan per tonne.
The Export/Import division of the Trade Department issued 42 export licenses worth over 534 million Yuan for 41 companies to convey 191,700 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh.
Since 7 September 2017, Myanmar and Bangladesh have engaged in rice trade under the government-to-government pact. That MoU stated that Bangladesh has agreed to buy Myanmar’s white rice (250,000 tonnes) and parboiled rice (50,000) tonnes yearly between 2017 and September 2022.
Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Food and MRF signed the sales contracts as per the MoU and Myanmar sent 100,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh each in 2017 for the first time and 2021 for the second time, as per the sales contract.
Myanmar conveyed 5,195.2 tonnes of rohu to Bangladesh through two cross-border posts (Sittway and Maungtaw) in the first half (April-September) of the current financial year 2022-2023, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Myanmar shipped 5,180.6 tonnes of rohu worth $6.314 million in the six-month 2021-2022 mini-budget period. The figures showed a small increase of $0.18 million this FY. However, the border trade has come to a halt since September amid transport security concerns, according to the Maungtaw border post.
Rohu is processed in Yangon and they are sent to the Sittway border post by cold-storage trucks or ships after pre-shipment inspection. Then, they are shipped to Bangladesh by motorboats. Myanmar has begun exporting rohu to Bangladesh through Sittway and Maungtaw border posts since 2016.
Agriculture and livestock are the backbone of Myanmar’s economy. Commercial fish farming businesses are found in some townships in Yangon, Bago, and Ayeyawady regions. As rohu has grasped market shares in the international markets, farmers have expanded the scope of rohu farming.
Approximately 1,000 tonnes of rohu from Yangon city are delivered to Sittwe and Maungtaw border posts in Rakhine State with Bangladesh. Rohu from the other two cities is also sent to the border via sea route and road transport. Myanmar’s export has been surpassing imports in the cross-border trade with Bangladesh, including exports worth $19.066 million and imports valued at $0.14 million between 1 April and 2 December in the 2022-2023 FY.
Myanmar’s fishery export accounted for 65 percent and dried groceries constituted 35 percent of Myanmar’s two border posts with Bangladesh. The fishery products include farmed rohu, hilsa, mackerel, dried anchovy, and dried fish powder. Tamarind, onion, ginger, dried jujube powder, jaggery, longyi (sarong), and clothes are also exported.
The values of fishery products to Bangladesh via two border posts stood at $6.318 million (7,093.413 tonnes) in the 2019-2020FY, $4.76 million (5,010.7 tonnes) in the 2020-2021FY and $13.987 million (11,362.97 tonnes) in the 2021-2022 six-month mini-budget period (October-March).
Myanmar shipped 1,096.500 tonnes of areca nuts to Bangladesh in the first half of the current financial year 2022-2023, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
The country delivered 890.345 tonnes of areca nuts during the six months 2021-2022 mini-budget period. The export volume was up by 206.155 tonnes this FY.
Myanmar’s agriculture and livestock businesses are the mainstays of its rural community. The rural people execute areca nut farming as a family business.
The areca nuts are sent to Bangladesh through the Maungtaw border.
The fresh supply of newly harvested areca nuts brought down the prices, according to the Mawlamyine areca nut market.
Last August, the price hit K8,000 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kilograms). At present, the price of a new areca nut is valued at K3,300 per viss only.
Earlier, dried areca nuts were exported to India. That export came to a halt amid security threats triggered by political changes along Kalay-Tamu Road, which connects to the border post with India. As a result of this, traders are heavily relying on domestic demand, traders said.
The farm owners are keen on selling soft and moist areca nut fruits rather than dried ones. China primarily buys them.
Myanmar’s areca nut fruit market has become widespread. The commodity depot of areca nut fruits emerged in the producing states and regions (Rakhine, Mon, and Kayin states and Taninthayi and Ayeyawady regions).
As a result of this, the dried areca nut production is likely to drop in the future and the prices are likely to go up on low inventory and possible foreign demand, traders forecast.
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By: This article is written by Samina Akhter, an independent freelance journalist from Dhaka region, Bangladesh.