Friday, January 27, 2023

Myanmar, Bangladesh benefitting from ‘Rice Diplomacy’

There is nothing new about the impact food has on politics. In the old days, many kings practiced food diplomacy in entertaining their guests; from serving the best unique dishes that could have been created only by the royal house’s finest chefs. The tradition continues in the modern political world. Many leaders of political parties and presidents use food diplomacy to strengthen relationships between allies or diffuse tension with the opposition.

Rice seems to have emerged as a favourite diplomatic tool for Myanmar and Bangladesh to build strong ties with their neighbors. The commodity is the staple diet for most people in countries like Indonesia, Thailand and also neighbouring country China, India.

The agricultural sector is one of the most important and most strategic sectors for the survival of a country, without food the country could be in a position of chaos and bankruptcy.

There are so many ways that the Bangladesh government does to maintain the availability of rice, one of the most ways is by importing rice, this import policy reaps a lot of cons because Bangladesh is known as an agricultural country or a country with most of the worker in the agricultural sector, but unfortunately, Bangladesh continues to import rice.

Due to the current state of the world, which is experiencing a global food disaster due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, many nations have closed the export door to maintain their domestic stock.

Rice is a very important commodity in the Bangladeshi people’s lives; there is even a term in Bangladesh that says that Bangladeshi people have not eaten if they have not consumed rice; from this term, it can be seen that rice has become a staple for the Bangladeshi people.

Despite tensions between Myanmar and Bangladesh, Dhaka, which imports about millions of tonnes of rice every year, has placed an import order from Myanmar.

As agriculture and livestock are the backbone of Myanmar’s economy, it earns foreign currencies from rice exports beyond self-sufficiency. The State is supporting the stockholders including farmers and investors in order to bring about business opportunities. According to the Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh regarding rice trade, 200,000 tonnes of white rice from Myanmar will be exported to Bangladesh.  A total of 2,650 tonnes of rice are to be directly shipped by the MV MCL-7 for the first time from the Ayeyawady International Industrial Port AIIP in Pathein Industrial City, Ayeyawady Region to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh and Myanmar officials signed a sales contract on 8 September in order for exporting 200,000 tonnes of Myanmar’s white rice to Bangladesh. About 30,000-50,000 tonnes of rice are scheduled to be sent to Bangladesh from the Pathein Port. On 28 October, the loading of 2,650 tonnes of Emahta rice (5% broken) onto the ship heading for Bangladesh commenced.
“Rice exports generate foreign currencies as well as contribute to private sector development. It is the first step of the regional efforts with the first ever direct rice shipment from Pathein city to the external market, with an aim to spur the developments in public and private sectors harmoniously together. The next step is to facilitate the trade in the Pathein Industrial City as the government is looking forward to the city with good prospects. The exports of rice also cause the GDP growth in the region. In addition to rice, corn and sesame are also targeted to be directly exported to foreign markets through the Pathein City.

The loading process of 2,650 tonnes of rice was completed on 31 October and the MV MCL-7 left for Bangladesh through the AIIP. More ships arrived and departed at the Port. It was the direct export of local products from Ayeyawady Region.
Myanmar’s rice exports to the neighbouring countries can enhance the livelihood of the farmers and create business opportunities for the related businesses driven by rice exports. This achievement in Pathein city can also strengthen the tripartite relationship between the State, farmers and entrepreneurs for ensuring the sustainable market and export promotion.

More than 20,000 tonnes of rice have been sent to Bangladesh by up to October 2022, according to the Ministry of Commerce of Myanmar. Myanmar and Bangladesh inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice trade in September this year.
According to this MoU, Bangladesh has agreed to buy 250,000 tonnes of rice and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Myanmar between 2022 and 2027. Following the MoU, Bangladesh’s Directorate-General of Food and MRF signed a sales contract for 200,000 tonnes of Myanmar’s rice to be exported to Bangladesh. As per the sales contract, Myanmar has shipped over 20,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh up to 31 October 2022.
Furthermore, over 15,000 tonnes of rice were loaded onto the vessel. The remaining over 150,000 tonnes of rice will be exported during the set period.
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 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.

The Ministry of Commerce has granted an export licence for 191,700 tonnes of rice that will be shipped to Bangladesh according to the agreement between the two countries.
As per the Memorandum of Understanding 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 kilogramme and 2788.56 Yuan per tonne.
The Export/Import division of the Trade Department issued over 534 million Yuan worth 42 export licences for 41 companies to convey 191,700 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh.
Myanmar and Bangladesh inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice trade in September this year.
According to this MoU, Bangladesh has agreed to buy 250,000 tonnes of white rice and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Myanmar between 2022 and 2027.
Under the MoU, Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Food and MRF 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 shipped over 20,000 tonnes of white rice to Bangladesh till 31 October 2022. The remaining will be delivered before the deadline.
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 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 plans to export a total of 200,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh under a G-to-G agreement. The first shipment was directly made by the Ayeyawady International Industrial Port (AIIP) in Pathein of Ayeyawady Region, and 10,565 tonnes of rice out of the targeted 200,000 tonnes has been exported from 2 to 22 November.
The AIIP exported 2,650 tonnes of rice by MV MCL-7 from Ayeya Hintha company on 2 November, 2,615 tonnes by MV MCL-21 on 7 November, 2,650 tonnes by MV MCL-12 on 13 November and 2,650 tonnes by MV MCL-18 on 22 November, 10,565 tonnes of rice in total. A total of 211,300 bags of 50-kilogramme Emahta rice were conveyed from the AIIP to Bangladesh. Efforts are underway to continue exporting the second batch of targeted tonnes of rice.
Deputy Director U Tun Tun from the Consumer Affairs Department commented on the benefits to farmers and businessmen due to direct export that there was an instruction to export 20,000 tonnes of rice as the first batch and 40,000 tonnes of rice as the second batch constantly, totalling 60,000 tonnes.
The direct shipment enhances the economic development of the region and brings advantages to residents and the State. There will be a ship to dock over the next two or three weeks as well, he added.
The respective ministry and export companies are working together to ensure the quality of export rice and fast shipping. Rice mills in Ayeyawady Region are running to export good-quality rice, it is learnt.

Myanmar has conveyed about 110,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh under the government-to-government pact, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Myanmar and Bangladesh inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice trade in September this year.
According to this MoU, Bangladesh has agreed to buy 250,000 tonnes of white rice and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Myanmar between 2022 and 2027.
Under 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 shipped about 110,000 tonnes of white rice to Bangladesh as of 28 November 2022. Furthermore, over 2,000 tonnes of rice are being loaded onto the ship for now. The remaining will be delivered before 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 2788.56 Yuan per tonne.
The Export/Import division of the Trade Department issued 42 export licences 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 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.

According to the Government-to-Government pact between Myanmar and Bangladesh, Bangladesh has been purchasing Myanmar’s white rice. The country has shipped rice directly from Pathein Industrial City since 2 November 2022. Between 1 and 8 December, 5,260 tonnes of rice were loaded onto the two ships in the second batch and the MCL-12 ship carrying 2,650 tonnes of rice departed in the morning of 8 December 2022 from the Ayeyawady International Industrial Port AIIP in Pathein Industrial City, Ayeyawady Region to Bangladesh.
Earlier, Myanmar conveyed rice to Bangladesh through Yangon Port and Thilawa terminals. In the first batch from 2 to 22 November 2022, 10,565 tonnes of Aemahta rice (five-per-cent broken) were shipped by four ships directly from Pathein city to Bangladesh. The country delivered 2,610 tonnes of rice by MCL-19 ship on 1 December and 2,650 tonnes of rice by the MCL-12 ship on 8 December in the second batch, totalling 5,260 tonnes. On 7 December, the MCL-18 ship arrived at the   Ayeyawady International Industrial Port and further exports are to be undertaken.
Myanmar’s white rice direct delivery from Ayeyawady Region to Bangladesh accumulated 15,825 tonnes, with 10,565 tonnes in the first batch and 5,260 in the second batch.
“The main export item from Pathein Port is rice. If Bangladesh buys corn in addition to rice, there is an adequate supply of corn in the region. Myanmar has indicated readiness to export corn depending on the market demand. The rice shipment for the second batch has finished. We plan to export agricultural products from   Ayeyawady Region to foreign trading partners. For the initial stage, efforts are being made to complete the rice shipment first,” said U Tun Tun, deputy director of the Ayeyawady Region Consumers Affairs Department.
Earlier, the second batch of rice shipment was slated for the second week of December. However, Myanmar managed to ship the rice in the first week to Bangladesh as rice outputs from Ayeyawady Region increased.  All the stakeholders involved in a supply chain including the Ayeyawady Region Government, departments concerned and private businessmen are being exerted to meet the rice demand of Bangladesh to ship them directly from the region. The direct rice shipment from Ayeyawady Region, Myanmar’s rice bowl, to the foreign markets brings about economic opportunities for rice millers, farmers and traders and employment opportunities for local communities.

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