Myanmar has developed into a significant market for Australian wheat in recent years and, with bulk wheat shipping expected to be introduced in the near future, it's set to flourish even further.
Australia already holds almost 90 per cent of the Myanmar wheat market, having doubled exports from 200,000 tonnes in 2012 to 400,000 tonnes, worth $117 million, in 2017.
To help maintain Australia's dominance of this market as it grows, the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) has been laying the foundations of a long-lasting relationship with the flour milling industry in Myanmar.
AEGIC South-East Asia markets manager Sean Cowman says wheat exports to Myanmar will start transitioning from containers to bulk shipping in the coming months.
"The Myanmar wheat market will continue to grow and can reach one million metric tonnes in the years ahead, potentially worth over $300 million," he says.
"Bulk shipping is a game changer for the Myanmar flour and feed milling industries and will change the dynamic of this market.
"AEGIC is working hard to maintain a significant share of this market as it grows."
The Myanmar wheat market will continue to grow and can reach one million metric tonnes in the years ahead, potentially worth over $300 million
On behalf of growers and the Australian wheat industry, AEGIC has - over the past several years - conducted in-market visits, seminars and workshops to help flour millers understand and optimise the value of Australian wheat.
This helps position Australia as the preferred wheat supplier for Myanmar.
Wheat technical seminar
Fifty flour millers, bakers and noodle processors took part in an Australian wheat technical seminar hosted by AEGIC and Austrade in February 2019. The seminar followed a similar event in 2018.
Participants increased their understanding of the Australian wheat industry and the quality, functionality and health attributes of Australian wheat.
AEGIC wheat quality technical markets manager Dr Larisa Cato says in-market technical engagement is crucial in helping Australia continue to meet the needs of Myanmar wheat buyers.
"Myanmar is becoming more and more significant for Australian wheat exports, and it's important we connect directly with the people who use Australian wheat and help them get the most value out of our product," Dr Cato says.
"This not only helps grain importers and processors in Myanmar get the best out of Australian wheat, it helps the Australian industry maintain and grow this developing market."
It's important we connect directly with the people who use Australian wheat and help them get the most value out of our product
The AEGIC and Austrade seminar included presentations from Mr Cowman, who spoke about the value AEGIC provides to flour millers, and Dr Cato, who outlined the quality of Australian wheat and its suitability for Asian products.
Mathilde Berra, of leading cereal and flour innovation company Chopin Technologies, updated participants about the latest developments in wheat flour and noodle quality measurement.
Dr Sara Grafenauer, of Australia's Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, gave a presentation on the health and nutrition attributes of Australian grains.
The seminar was opened by Australia's Ambassador to Myanmar, Andrea Faulkner.
Myanmar fact file
- In line with trends in other Asian countries, diets are evolving to incorporate more wheat-based products.
- Wheat imports into Myanmar are expected to change from container to bulk in the coming years.
- Flour milling capacity is expected to increase with new mills operational soon.
- As demand for wheat grows, the challenge posed by Black Sea and North American wheat will grow.
- Australian wheat is currently preferred for noodles and there are opportunities to increase the use of Australian wheat for baking.
More information: AEGIC, 08 6168 9900, https://www.aegic.org.au