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Rice crises looming

Due to last year flooding rice production in Myanmar could be reduced by up to 40 percent in some states. The rice harvests in the states of Mon and Karen are already down by over 40 percent this year compared to 2012-13. Local farmers along the Done-Tha-Mi river report that the rainy season flooding last year is likely to cause severe rice shortages in the region.

Open market rice prices are high this year, but farmers say they cannot take advantage of the prices because of low production, most of which will be used to feed their families.

However, US Department of Agriculture projections for Burmese rice production remains unchanged. According to the USDA, Burma’s rice production in 2013-14 is expected to increase to around 11 million tons, up about 3 percent from around 10.6 million tons in 2012-13.

Consumption in Burma is estimated at around 10.25 million tons in 2013-14, and exports are projected to reach around 750,000 tons.