Myanmar, the world’s top rice shipper before five decades of military dictatorship made it Southeast Asia’s poorest nation, plans to double exports over five years, threatening to aggravate a global glut.
Overseas sales may climb to as much as 3 million metric tons by 2017 from 1.5 million tons in the year ending March 2013 as yields and infrastructure improve, Ye Min Aung, secretary- general of the Myanmar Rice Federation, said on Oct 25. The US Department of Agriculture raised its export forecast for Myanmar by 25 percent to 750,000 tons for this year on Oct. 11.
The country that could be Asia’s next economic frontier, according to the International Monetary Fund, is reviving the rice trade as it reengages with the global economy and shifts back toward democracy. The 2017 target would be equivalent to 8 percent of world exports this year, which are forecast by the USDA at 37.7 million tons. The global market in rice, a staple for half the world, has been in a surplus for seven years.
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