Myanmar to Resume Rice Exports After Harvest Starts, FAO Says

Myanmar will probably resume rice exports after the new harvest starts in April, according to the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization.

“The export ban is a seasonal adjustment every year to keep enough stock before harvest begins next month,” said Hiroyuki Konuma, the FAO’s regional representative in Asia. “When the Myanmar harvest starts, then I’m sure they won’t continue the ban,” Konuma said late yesterday after a meeting with Myanmar delegates during a conference in Bangkok.

Myanmar suspended exports from the last week of February to ensure rice prices are not driven higher by shortages, Associated Press reported on March 3, citing a rice exporter who spoke on condition of anonymity. Khin Hla Thein, deputy director of the Planning Department, under the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, declined to comment.

The export restriction “has nothing to do with the international market,” Konuma said. There was no specific food price increase in Myanmar, he added.

Myanmar is estimated to export 500,000 tons this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To contact the reporter on this story: Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bangkok at ssuwannakij@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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