Myanmar rice Exporters

From the Fields to Your Plate: The Journey of Myanmar Rice

Myanmar heavily relies on rice for food and is the sixth largest rice producer globally, with over 8 million hectares dedicated to its cultivation. The crop is vital to the country’s GDP and food security. From 1995 to 2010, Myanmar rice production increased significantly, reaching 22 million tonnes, thanks to advanced techniques and expanded cultivation. However, during the same period, rice exports experienced a significant decline due to the country’s growing population requiring more food. Despite this, Myanmar can potentially increase rice production by improving land reclamations, mechanization, and infrastructure development in rural and urban areas. Nevertheless, rice remains Myanmar’s most important crop, dominating the country’s economy.

1) Agricultural Impact

Myanmar’s primary occupation is agriculture, but production has decreased despite the country’s moderate natural resources. The sector contributes 13.7% to export earnings and 37.8% to the GDP, employing 61.2% of the workforce. Various crops are produced with diverse agroecological conditions and ample arable land, but rice is critical to the economy and food security, accounting for about 35% of the total crop area. Promoting efficient rice farming could reduce poverty, improve food security, and bolster the rural sector and economy.

2) Rice-Producing Regions

Myanmar’s ideal climate, abundant land, and water resources enable rice farming for 5-6 months annually. Rainfed lowland, deepwater, irrigated lowland, and upland areas are utilized for rice cultivation, with irrigation critical in the central dry zone and drainage and flood protection concerns in the delta region. Upland areas are found in Mandalay, Sagaing, and Shan states, with some in the cold northern sloping land of Shan state.

3) Rice Varieties

Myanmar cultivates several rice breeds, with over 20 different varieties grown in the country. These include Nga-seindu-me, Byat-ga-lay, Ka-mar-Ku, Maung-nyo, Shan-nyein, Nga-kywe, Emataamagyi, and Pin to-sein, among others.

4) Climate

Myanmar’s climate is influenced by monsoonal air masses and its geographic position. Northern mountains bring snow from Central Asia, while mountains and valleys control precipitation patterns. This creates alternate zones of torrential rains and drought-prone scanty precipitation during both monsoons. Southwest monsoons bring the most rainfall, but the west coast can experience tropical cyclones due to low pressure.

Myanmar is among the top ten rice-producing countries globally and has been one of the major Myanmar rice exporters in the past. However, the country imports a small amount due to a rapidly growing population. Although there is potential for further production growth, using fertilizers and advanced machinery management remains a critical factor that hinders Myanmar’s rice production improvement, which affects its ability to compete as Myanmar rice exporter in the international market.

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