The Myanmar Rice Association said it will not make any efforts to combat the rising prices in the domestic rice market in a bid to prevent mass exports.
Dr Soe Tun, vice chairman of Myanmar Rice Association, said that any move to keep rice prices artificially low would force producers to export more.
He said that if the local prices does not increase as the exchange rate increases, rice producers will export more rice than before, causing a shortage of rice in the country.
“If the local prices go up, there will be fewer exports. If the prices don’t go up, two months’ worth of rice may get exported. So there will be insufficient rice left for the local market,” he told reporters.
Currently, maritime rice exports have dipped, but increased overland rice trade is balancing the total export volume. Overland rice export mostly happens at China-Myanmar border and doesn’t involve big shipping costs.
Dr Soe Tun said if the exchange rate decreases, local prices of rice will also decrease. Some local rice traders also want the association to control exports to China as the price increases, he added.
However, U Chit Khaing, chairman of the association, said that the association will not try to control exports either.
About 2 million tonnes of rice are expected to be exported this fiscal year, while 1.8 million tonnes were exported in 2014-15.