Myanmar corn production forecast to increase

by Holly Demaree
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Increased forecast due to lower production cost and better profitability for corn
 
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Myanmar’s major corn production area is located in the central part of the country, particularly in Shan State, which has about 52% of total production. Most farmers use high-yielding hybrid seeds provided or purchased from foreign entities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Services (FAS) said in a Dec. 2 report. In the 2016-17 marketing year, total corn production is estimated to increase by 6% due to the expansion of rain fed corn growing areas and increased demand from neighboring countries in the region.

Myanmar corn farmers need about 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes of corn seeds annually to meet domestic demand. An estimated 90% of Myanmar farmers use hybrid seeds that are either purchased from commercial seed producers or the government, the report said. Other farmers use seeds saved from previous crops. Most of the seed companies in the country are owned by foreign investors from Thailand and China. According to industry sources, the Myanmar CP Livestock Co. (MCPLC), a subsidiary company of the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) from Thailand, holds about 60% to 70% of the Myanmar corn seed market. The MCPLC produces hybrid corn seeds through contract farming with local growers, primarily in southern Shan State.

The Myanmar Department of Agriculture has developed its own corn seed varieties for research and commercialization. The government holds an estimated 8% share of the corn market. The government seeds are known as Yazin varieties, which are cheaper than the corn seeds sold by private seed companies.

Despite the lack of government data, trade sources report that the corn planted area has steadily increased in recent years due mainly to lower production cost and better profitability for corn as compared to competing crops such as potato and garlic. Domestic corn consumption also is expected to grow in market year 2015-16 and market year 2016-17 in line with the growth of Myanmar’s livestock sector, especially poultry and swine.

Corn use in animal feed production is expected to increase to 800,000 tonnes in market year 2015-16 from 600,000 tonnes in market year 2014-15. This number is anticipated to climb to 850,000 tonnes in market year 2016-17 as corn is likely to replace broken rice as a major ingredient in animal feed, according to the report. Corn accounts for about 20% to 45% of complete feed rations depending on type of feed.

Trade sources estimate that about 30% to 35% of Myanmar’s domestic corn supply is used in animal feed, while 5% to 6% is used for seed, food processing and alcohol production. The bulk of Myanmar’s corn production is exported to China.
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