IFC and Myanmar Rice Federation Join Hands to Boost Myanmar’s Rice Industry

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, through a partnership with Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) to support sustainable growth of Myanmar’s rice industry. The MoU aims to accelerate changes in the industry through development, improvement, and promotion of milled rice standards and paddy grading system, which will lead to improved rice production, increased export volumes, and better livelihoods for millions of farmers.

Rice is Myanmar’s most important agricultural sector, accounting for 40 percent of gross agricultural output and 13 percent of overall gross domestic product. Myanmar exported more than 3 million metric tons of rice and broken rice, worth more than $1 billion to 57 countries, in 2017/18 financial year. This is the highest level of rice exported over the past 70 years.

Consequently, to further unlock the rice industry’s potential, in support of the Myanmar government’s continuing efforts, IFC will assist MRF to improve the country’s current milled rice standards and paddy grading system. It will further promote adoption among the nation’s rice millers and exporters in order to transform the rice standards in a sustainable manner.

“We welcome this partnership with IFC. It is particularly relevant in view of the National Export Strategy where rice has been identified as a key focus, coupled with MRF’s target to export 4 million metric tons of rice and broken rice by 2020/21,” said U Chit Khine, MRF Chairman.

In April last year, as part of the IFC-hosted Myanmar Rice Network 2017, IFC and MRF, in partnership with the Rice Trader, conducted a deep dive session on Myanmar’s milled rice standards. The event reviewed the standards and discussed several perspectives — including those of international buyers and sector specialists. These deliberations underscored the need to adopt improved milled rice standards to effectively compete with other exporting countries, in view of Myanmar’s targeted increases in rice export.

Consequential changes in a more transparent and improved paddy grading system will also support the improved milled rice standards and to ensure transmission of commensurate prices back to the farmers.

With those in mind, IFC will help MRF establish a technical working group on milled rice standards. The group will review the existing milled rice standards of other countries and scan the global rice market requirements, particularly in the targeted markets for Myanmar rice. This will guide the development of improved milled rice standards and paddy categorization to meet the international buyers’ demand for quality rice.  

“With its industry expertise, IFC is well-positioned to help Myanmar strengthen the country’s growing rice market and become a leading rice exporter in Asia, thus improving livelihoods of millions of farmers and contributing to the nation’s economic growth,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Country Manager for Myanmar. “Besides working with MRF on rice standard improvement, we will support the country’s key stakeholders to boost rice production and quality. This will prepare the sector to respond to global market opportunities and better participate in the value chain.” 

About IFC 
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity.

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