ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S.— The first bulk grain vessel carrying U.S. wheat docked in Myanmar in mid-May. U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) representatives were present when the shipment carrying U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat purchased by a local flour mill arrived.

The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) began intensifying its work in Myanmar when it was announced two deep-water ports were to open in the country.

“With the ability only to take container loads, U.S. wheat had to compete with less expensive supplies shipped mainly from nearly Australia,” the USW said. “Still, its political situation was changing and consumer purchasing power was growing.”

To lay the groundwork for U.S. wheat bulk shipments to customers in Myanmar, USW hosted a workshop on FGIS inspection and certification in marketing year 2017-18 for three milling companies and government officials. USW separately brought in a private trading company and the USDA FAS staff in Yangon to brief the Myanmar Plant Protection Department about the bulk U.S. wheat export supply system. The briefing provided information to help increase the confidence in purchasing and handling U.S. bulk wheat shipments.

In 2019-20, USW will apply funding from the FMD program to bring purchasing managers from selected Myanmar flour mills to the United States for a course called “contracting for value.” It will help educate milling executives quantify the economic value of U.S. wheat classes and understand possible adjustments in contract specifications to enhance that value.

“Myanmar-based customers are embracing the benefits of working with imported U.S. wheat,” the association said. “Exports of HRS and soft white (SW) wheat to Myanmar grew from 26,300 tonnes in 2017-18 to about 65,000 tonnes in 2018-19. USW will continue to provide valuable trade and technical support there and throughout the growing wheat markets in South Asia.”