Feb 2, 2012

Toyota bids to buy 300,000 tonnes of Myanmar rice

JAPAN automotive giant Toyota Motors has made an offer to the Myanmar Rice Industry Association (MRIA) to buy and import 300,000 tonnes of rice, an official said on January 21.
Toyota made the offer to buy the rice through Kitsana Kyun Thar, a specialist rice company based in Danuphyu township, Ayeyarwady Region, said Ko Aung Myint Thein, one of the company’s managers.
“It is a great chance for Myanmar to export high quality standard rice,” he said. “Toyota is interested in buying 300,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar and they sent two representatives to observe production here,” he added.
Most rice exported from Myanmar is low-grade 25-percent broken grain ehmeta, which fetches about US$340-350 a tonne on the international market.
MRIA recently announced measures to ensure national food security but also promote exports, which earn crucial export dollars for the economy. Under the new measures, exporters must contribute between 3pc and 5pc of each shipment they make to MRIA stockpiles across the nation. The plan was also instituted to ensure farmers earned a higher price for their labour, although that has not been the case so far.
“We have too many debts to pay and we want to sell all of our paddy to dealers or specialist rice companies as quickly as we can,” said U Shwe Htay, a farmer in Ah Kyaw village tract in Danuphyu township.
“If the government wants to set a minimum price for paddy only the dealers and rice companies will benefit,” he said.
The major buyer of Myanmar’s rice exports are West African nations, which purchase it specifically because it’s cheap.
“We don’t need to concentrate on increasing the volume of our low quality rice exports,” said U Chit Khine, MRIA president and chairman of Kitsana Kyun Thar company.
“We should identify markets that are willing to buy high-quality rice such as Singapore, Japan or Europe, and work to improve the quality so we can earn higher prices,” he added.
MRIA exported 15,000 tonnes of ehmeta to Africa in the first week of January at $350 a tonne, he added.

Source: Myanmar Times