Yangon, March (10)

The military council is attempting to enact a law on rice so that it can oversee the cultivation and production of rice in Myanmar, as well as its export and sale, in accordance with the rules.

The military council discussed the drafting of a bill on rice in Yangon and Pathein townships, and plans to hold more discussions in major rice-growing areas, including Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay, from March to early April.

The military council said that it will enact a law on rice in order to ensure domestic food security, domestic rice supply, and orderly export rice to foreign countries in accordance with the law.

“The military council’s bill on rice has the potential to control the market, so farmers may face a return to the socialist era and black markets may emerge,” an economist said.

He said that the law is necessary to encourage the market economic system and benefit farmers, and if it is drafted only for the interests of traders and entrepreneurs, it may harm the farmers.

The rice bill was drafted by the military regime’s Ministry of Commerce, and the military council is currently making amendments of the bill in cooperation with the Myanmar Rice Federation.

The bill on rice contains 10 chapters, 51 articles, and includes provisions for the export of rice and the collection of taxes on rice mills, as well as the sector of the storage of rice.

A rice miller said that if the military council controls the rice market by law, some rice businesses may stop and farmers may reduce their activities.

Rather than preparing to enact a rice law, the military council should work to reduce the high prices of input and fuel and others, and ease unnecessary restrictions, said rice producers.

The military council said that the drafting of the rice law was one of the 44 processes adopted by the Myanmar Rice Conference held in October last year.

Although the military council was trying to enact a rice law to legally oversee rice, on the other hand, the authorities declared that since March 1, 65 percent of the income from the export of rice and rice products must be exchanged for Myanmar Kyat at the rate set by the Central Bank, so entrepreneurs are facing difficulties, and the price of rice has not decreased as much as expected.

News-Than Lwin Times

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