YANGON, MYANMAR — The International Finance Corp. (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, partnered with The Rice Trader (TRT) and the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) to organize an international conference to support the sustainable development of Myanmar’s rice industry and its regional trade.

The Myanmar Rice Network 2017, held April 28, brought together local rice millers and exporters, global rice traders and industry specialists to help strengthen the country’s growing rice market.

“The Rice Trader is honored to host this important seminar as recognition to Myanmar’s rise and importance in the global rice trade,” said Jeremy Zwinger, president and chief executive officer at TRT. “This meeting is a timely gathering that looks at how Myanmar will set its course towards growing exports and the value from these rice exports.”

U Ye Min Aung, secretary general from the MRF, said the conference serves as a platform for information exchange among key stakeholders, “allowing all to gain a better understanding of the market and the opportunities presented, to network and explore business deals.”

The groups involved in the conference believe that greater investment in production standards and quality control will allow Myanmar’s rice industry to flourish, especially given its existing cross-border trade with China and sales to Africa and Europe.

Myanmar is seeking to address trade challenges by developing logistics, streamlining its supply chain and helping to improve access to markets. Supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the government of Japan and the U.K. Department for International Development, the industry event promises to impart business intelligence while also offering exporters, traders and buyers valuable peer networking opportunities.

“With its industry expertise, IFC is well-positioned to help Myanmar become a leading rice exporter in Asia as it used to be, improving livelihoods of millions of farmers and contributing to economic growth,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC country manager for Myanmar. “We will support key stakeholders such as farmers, millers and traders to boost rice production and quality as well as enhancing the sector’s competitiveness to respond to international market opportunities.”

The IFC has significantly scaled up its engagement in agribusiness in recent years. In the fiscal year ended in June 2016, IFC’s global investments across the agribusiness supply chain totaled $3.4 billion. The group aims to help boost production, increase liquidity, improve logistics and distribution, and expand access to credit for small farmers. At the end of the fiscal year, IFC’s agribusiness portfolio stood at $5.6 billion.