September 16, 2003
Burma's Feed Corn Output Expected to Reach 750,000 Tons in 2003/2004
Corn in Burma is the second most important cereal crop, after rice. Post forecasts that Burma's corn (feed grain) production will reach 750,000 tons in 2003/2004, up 100,000 tons from last year's crop. The growth in production is due to an anticipated increase in the hybrid corn seeded area and an assumption of a return to normal weather conditions.
Total harvested area of corn (feed grain) in 2003 is forecast at 300,000 hectares, but yields will be constrained by the increased cost of critical inputs. (Approximately another 190,000 hectares of edible corn and sweet corn is also harvested annually, but these generally do not enter the feed sector.)
Corn production in the 2002/03 marketing year is estimated to be 650,000 tons. The projected increase for next year reflects farmers' likely response to substantial growth in private sector exports followed by a strong demand for feed from the expanding domestic (broiler and layer) livestock sector.
The Government of Burma's (GOB) five-year plan to increase seeded area to 324,000 hectares by 2005/06 is attainable since farmers now have the freedom to select their crops. The GOB also plans to substitute local varieties with improved and hybrid corn cultivars by 2006.
Growth in the livestock sector is driving corn production, along with a relatively free export market; there are (mostly) no GOB restrictions on corn exports. Corn has (mostly) no restrictions on trade and is reported to account for 35 percent of total agricultural crop export earnings (Business Tank Magazine, official GOB publication.)
Burma is estimated to export about 125,000 tons of corn in 2002/03, up about four percent above last year, with Bangladesh consuming 49 percent of the total corn export volume. Unlike rice, corn exports are not controlled by a government monopoly.
Private exporters compete in the corn export market with Myanmar Agricultural Produce Trading (MAPT), a State trading agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. On occasion, the GOB will control or curtail corn exports if domestic prices of feed increase.
The GOB aims to increase seeded area to 324,000 hectares by 2005/06 with production targeted to reach 778,000 tons in order to fulfill the domestic feed requirement for the livestock sector and increased demand for corn exports. In order to meet these requirements, the GOB, in a five-year plan, intends to increase the seeded acreage to 310,000 hectares producing 750,000 tons by 2003/04.