The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has stressed a need for tangible rice policies to keep abreast with industries in neighbouring countries.
A longstanding ban on private rice exports was scrapped in 2010 under the former military junta, but the modernisation needs of Myanmar’s agricultural sector remain vast. The world’s largest rice exporter from 1961 to 1963, Myanmar’s output today lags vastly behind that of its neighbours. And unlike those neighbours - countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, India and China - Myanmar lacks a comprehensive set of rules governing foreign investment in agriculture and the export of the country’s most important crop, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma.
Ye Min Aung, general-secretary of the MRF, said adopting more comprehensive rice policies will allow foreign investors to make their own decisions freely on which areas to invest - such as seed production, rice milling or industrial farming.
"The policy, to ensure sufficient domestic production and export the surplus, is rather too general and we rice millers need more precise and strategic policies specifying roles of rice millers, traders, companies and farmers as well as the insurance system and many more," said Ye Min Aung.
He said the MRF will cooperate with the government, international organisations and civil society groups to work out new rice policies.
"A plan has been underway to draft new rice policies under supervision of the MRF which will be presented to the President and the public, as well as political parties and civil society organisations for their input and advice," he said.
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