Looking ahead to 2017-18, rice output is expected to climb to 12.3 million tonnes in anticipation of favorable weather conditions.
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Rice and corn production in Myanmar is expected to increase in the 2016-17 marketing year, while production of wheat is forecast to fall, according to an April 20 report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Rice production in 2016-17 is forecast at 12.2 million tonnes, up from 12.16 million tonnes in 2015-16. The increase reflects the recovery of the main rice growing areas of the region that were affected by major floods in 2015, the USDA said. Looking ahead to 2017-18, rice output is expected to climb to 12.3 million tonnes in anticipation of favorable weather conditions and increased use of machinery, the agency noted in its report.

Consumption of milled rice is forecast at 10.8 million tonnes in 2016-17 and 10.9 million tonnes in 2017-18, reflecting expanded demand by the animal feed sector in Myanmar.

Rice exports, meanwhile, are forecast to increase to 1.4 million tonnes in 2016-17 and 1.45 million tonnes in 2017-18 in anticipation of higher demand from China and the E.U., coupled with easing of inspections along the border.

“In addition, the Myanmar government plans to sign memorandum of understanding agreements for rice purchases with Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, which could stimulate demand for Myanmar rice,” the USDA said.

Corn production in Myanmar is forecast to increase to 2.1 million tonnes in 2016-17 and 2.25 million tonnes in 2017-18, driven by the expansion of rain-fed corn growing areas, particularly in the eastern part of the country, the USDA noted.

“Farmers primarily use high-yield hybrid seeds, which account for more than 90% of corn production,” the USDA said. “Hybrid corn seeds are provided by Thai-, China- and Vietnam-based companies, such as, CP, Seed Asia, Ayeyarwady, Seven tiger, etc., mostly through contract farming. About 50% of Myanmar’s corn production area is located in Shan State (eastern region of the country).”

Corn exports for 2017-18 are forecast to remain flat at 1.2 million tonnes, the same level as 2016-17. The USDA said about 98% of Myanmar’s corn exports take place along the border between Myanmar and China, with the remaining 2% exported to Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan.

Wheat production in Myanmar is forecast to fall to 180,000 tonnes in 2016-17 and 170,000 tonnes in 2017-18 due to the limited area suitable for wheat cultivation and poor price incentives compared to other crops such as chick pea and coriander seed, the USDA said. Farmers in Myanmar primarily grow wheat for animal feed and subsistence.

But consumption of wheat flour is expected to continue to grow behind changing lifestyles in the country that are being fueled by a demand for a more western-oriented diet.

“New bakeries, cafes and fast food shops around the country are fueling the demand for snack and baked goods derived from wheat flour,” the USDA said.