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Agro exports rise despite drops in other export groups

THE agricultural exports unexpectedly surge over the past five and a half months amid the private banks’ closure and reductions in other export groups. The agricultural exports have topped US$2.6 billion as of 12 March 2021 in the current financial year since 1 October 2020. The figures reflect a significant rise of $774 million this FY. According to the trade figures released by the Ministry of Commerce, the ago exports soared from $1.83 billion in the corresponding period of the 2019-2020FY. Myanmar’s agricultural exports rose regardless of the coronavirus’s impact on foreign
demand for other export groups and political instability. At present, some ocean liners suspended cargo transport from Myanmar in recent days. The cargo transport will double or triple if we conduct the trade with small ships.

It could harm the export sector somehow, according to Myanmar Mercantile Marine Development Association. However, Myanmar’s border trade with China is steadily conducted. Around 1,000 trucks are daily seen flowing in and out of the Muse, a central cross-border post between Myanmar and China, the traders said. Myanmar is daily shipping rice, broken rice, green grams, peanuts, various pulses and beans, onion, chilli, fishery products, consumer goods, watermelon and muskmelon to China with over 700 trucks. Meanwhile, building materials, electric appliances, medical devices, consumer goods, and fertilizer are imported daily with 200 trucks. Private banks’ closure forced the traders to turn to the operators running ‘hundi’, an informal money transfer system, to make transactions in the border trade. In the exports sector, the agriculture industry performed the best, accounting for over 22 per cent of overall exports.

The agricultural industry’s chief export items are rice and broken rice, pulses and beans, and maize. Fruits and vegetables, sesame, dried tea leaves, sugar, and other agro products are also shipped to other countries. Myanmar agro products are primarily exported to China, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. Sometimes, the export market remains uncertain due to unsteady global demand. The country requires specific export plans for each agro product. They are currently exported to external markets based upon supply and demand. Contract farming systems, regional and state agriculture departments, exporters, traders, and some grower groups are required to meet production targets, said an official from the Agriculture Department. The Commerce Ministry is working to help farmers deal with challenges such as high input costs, procurement of pedigree seeds, high cultivation costs, and erratic weather conditions.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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