Rising production costs deny farmers benefits of high rice prices (Frontier Myanmar) 

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Rice prices are going up, hitting ordinary Myanmar consumers, but smallholder farmers must still contend with higher costs of fertilizer and diesel, writes Frontier Myanmar, quoting IFPRI research on the matter.

“Local knowledge is backed up by international reports.

The International Food Policy Research Institute, a United States-based non-profit research center, says Myanmar’s rice productivity dropped 2.1pc during last year’s monsoon season. Yields declined significantly in Kayah and Chin states, both affected by conflict and enduring high levels of food insecurity. IFPRI said 2021 prices of fertilizer based on urea increased by 56pc on average, while mechanization costs rose 19pc. Paddy prices at the farm, meanwhile, rose by just 8pc.

“While the rice sector has been a source of stability in the country, the situation for future crop seasons is however concerning given further increases in input prices (especially fertilizer), the overall reduced profitability of rice farming, the reduced coping strategies remaining for rice farmers, and currency policy changes by the military government,” IFPRI said.

IFPRI said in a separate survey of millers across Myanmar in August this year that 91pc cited limited access to electricity and affordable fuel as their most significant disruptions, with average milling throughput falling by 20pc from a year earlier. Higher rice prices and milling margins had largely tracked the devaluation of the kyat against the US dollar, it said.

With millers predicting lower yields this year because of less fertilizer and less favorable rains, IFPRI said a decline in monsoon paddy production could have large implications for rural and urban households if prices were driven higher as a result.”

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