The price of corn bounced back to K1,180 per viss on 11 January 2023 in the domestic market.
The price of corn dipped to K1,130 per viss on 17 December 2022.
Strong foreign demand drove up corn prices. At present, Myanmar ships corn to China, Viet Nam and the Philippines, according to Myanmar Corn Industrial Association.
China is purchasing Myanmar’s corn through cross-border trade under opium substitution programmes. Legitimate corn trade between Myanmar and China commenced at the end of 2022. A total of 112 companies have been given the go-ahead for corn exports and some companies started exporting as well.
Thailand gives green light to corn imports under zero tariff (with Form-D), between 1 February and 31 August. However, Thailand imposed a maximum tax rate of 73 per cent on corn imports to protect the rights of their growers if the corn is imported during the corn season of Thailand.
The directive released on 30 June said that transactions for the exports of agricultural products including corn, rice, bean and oil crops are to be made in dollars instead of Yuan-Kyat/Baht-Kyat.
Therefore, the export earnings of the corn have to be exchanged for US dollars according to the reference rate of the Central Bank of Myanmar (K2,100). Nonetheless, there is a large gap between the regulated rate and the unauthorized rate of the US dollar (over K2,860), making the traders tough financially.
According to a meeting (66/2022) of Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee, export earnings of some items can be made in Chinese Yuan and Thai Baht in addition to the US dollar.
The CBM’s notice dated 18 November takes effect on those export items; various pulses (green gram, black gram, chickpea, pigeon pea), edible oil crops (peanut, sesame seeds), corn, rubber, fishery products (fish, shrimp, crab, eel) and livestock products (live cattle, hides, frozen meat, dried meat).
The traders need to apply for a licence to make Yuan or Baht payments. According to the US dollar policy, 65 per cent of earnings must be exchanged for local currency at the CBM’s reference foreign exchange rate, while exporters can use 35 per cent of export earnings or transfer or sell them to Authorized Dealers or others with an over-the-counter rate within one month.
Myanmar exported 2.3 million tonnes of corn to foreign trade partners in the 2020-2021 financial year. The majority of them were sent to Thailand and the remaining went to China, India and Viet Nam.
At present, corn is cultivated in Shan, Kachin, Kayah and Kayin states and Mandalay, Sagaing and Magway regions. Myanmar has three corn seasons – winter, summer and monsoon. The country produces 2.5-3 million tonnes of corn every year. — NN/EMM