Sri Lanka offers to purchase rice from Myanmar


Sri Lanka has offered to purchase 500,000 tonnes of high-quality rice from Myanmar through a government-to-government contract, said U Aung Soe , director general of Myanmar Trade Promotion Team under the Ministry of Commerce.

The offer to buy 200,000 tonnes of parboiled rice and 300,000 tonnes of white rice was made last week. Parboiled rice, or converted rice, is rice that has been partially boiled in the husk.

Each year, Myanmar exports between 1.5 million and 2 million tonnes of rice, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF).

Currently, Sri Lankan Ambassador Mr K.W.N.D. Karunaratne led negotiations between the two governments for the rice purchase.

Sri Lanka first offered to purchase rice from Myanmar back in February. “They told they want to buy 500,000 tonnes of rice. But after we told them each tonne of price was US$285 we did not receive a reply,” said Dr Soe Tun, vice chair of the MRF.

Since then though, rice prices have risen. The current market price is more than US$300 per tonne. “We are still negotiating and have yet to decide on anything,” Dr Soe Tun said, adding that Myanmar will only sell rice to Sri Lanka at market prices.

Myanmar previously exported rice under a similar government-to-government contract in 2007-08, according to Ministry of Commerce.

According to the ministry’s figures, trade between Myanmar and Sri Lanka in 2011-12 amounted to US$1.1 million, but later declined. In 2015-16, trade between the two countries rose to US$3.1 million.

Under new NLD-led government, trade between the two countries has rapidly increased, hitting US$24.5 million in 2016-17. In the first two months of the current fiscal year, trade between Sri Lanka and Myanmar amounted to US$5.3 million.

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