The Australian wheat industry is looking to Myanmar as an increasingly important and valued market in the South East Asian region.
Australia holds nearly 90% of the Myanmar wheat market, having doubled exports from 200,000 tonnes in 2012 to 400,000 tonnes worth $117 million in 2017.
To maintain Australia’s dominance of this market as it continues to grow, the Australian Export Grain 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 said wheat exports to Myanmar would start transitioning from containers to bulk shipping in the coming months.
“The Myanmar wheat market will continue to grow and can reach 1 million metric tonnes in the years ahead, potentially worth over $300 million,” he said.
“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 Australian wheat relevance and presence in this market as it grows.”
Over the past several years, AEGIC has 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.
Fifty flour millers, bakers and noodle processors took part in an Australian Wheat Technical Seminar hosted by AEGIC and Austrade on 21 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 said in-market technical engagement was 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,” she said.
“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.”
The 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 on the latest developments in wheat flour and noodle quality measurement.
Dr Sara Grafenauer of Australia’s Grains & 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 expected to be 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.
For enquiries about doing business between Australia and Myanmar, please contact Jeff.Turner@austrade.gov.au