‘Myanmar can become top rice exporter’

February 2nd, 2012 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, Feb 2 (IANS) Myanmar has the potential to reclaim the title of the world’s No. 1 rice exporter, an industry leader has said.

The country’s rice harvest may more than double to 1.5 million metric tonnes this year, the Myanmar rice industry has forecast.

“Myanmar will take away some markets from Thailand” this year and will worsen Thailand’s rice exports, Mizzima News Wednesday quoted Thai Rice Exporters Association’s president Vichai Sriprasert as saying.

“In the long run, Myanmar has the potential to become the top exporter,” he added.

The country’s rice sales totalled 700,000 tonnes in 2011.

Five decades ago, Myanmar was the world’s No. 1 rice exporter.

Paddy cultivation has surged in the country this year after the government announced to buy rice at about 10 percent above the market rate.

According to the Bloomberg Businessweek, rice consumption in Myanmar accounts for 11.5 million to 12 million tonnes per year.

The Myanmar government has embarked on a new a path toward democracy by freeing political prisoners and opening up talks with the country’s opposition groups and the western nations.

Myanmar will be the “most promising” Asian market over the next few decades if it continues its political and financial reforms, a US investor has said.

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