Regional Rice Export Market Research

This report analyses the regional rice export market for Malawi.

The Malawi rice market

Malawi has been producing rice for more than 40 years, encouraged by the appropriate weather conditions and supportive government policies. In the past, with organised producers and state assisted marketing systems, Malawi was renowned as a supplier of rice to the Southern African region. The unique, consumer-acclaimed, aromatic qualities of some Malawi varieties were well known and appreciated. However, in recent years, Malawi rice has lost market share in the region and been eclipsed by cheaper East Asian products.

Formal rice exports have of late been dwindling to be almost insignificant; however, informal exports remain significant, especially from the Northern Region. Some 3,107 MT of rice were exported informally in 2011 (FEWSNET), of which 71 percent was to Tanzania through the border posts of Songwe and Mbirima from Karonga and Chitipa Districts. Formal exports on the other hand fell from 4,700 MT in 2007 to 1,283 MT in 2011 (FAOSTAT, 2014). There are no statistics of either formal or informal exports beyond 2011, but the major exporters contacted by BIF have indicated that they no longer export for various reasons, the main one cited as being outcompeted on price by rival products, mainly from East Asia.

The price difference between Malawi and Asian imported rice is attributed to low productivity by Malawian smallholders. Smallholders demand a high price to offset their low productivity and relatively high unit cost of production. The low productivity is mainly due to use of recycled seed, poor agronomic practices and lack of investment in other inputs and appropriate technology. The Government also weighs in with a recommended price that is usually well above competing paddy prices across the world which encourages smallholders to ask for high prices rather than to focus more on improving productivity.

Exporters cite an unpredictable and volatile exchange rate as another constraint hampering exports. High transport costs and other weaknesses in the market system have also contributed to low net income for the poor. In the rice market, the poor are mainly producers, small-scale traders / vendors and consumers. Alongside this research, BIF is pursuing interventions that aim to increase productivity with the goal of enabling more competitive paddy prices and more net income for the poor.

The purpose of the report

In order to ensure that heightened productivity does not result in a price decrease due to the increased supply, it is important to ensure that processors and/or exporters of Malawian rice are both aware of and exploit opportunities to command a higher price for their products. Therefore, this report is aimed at assisting Malawian rice processors with market information that can help them re-gain a foothold in regional markets, whilst assessing the potential for Malawi rice in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The information gathered will include the general structure of the market in terms of product requirements, packaging, distribution channels, promotional methods and pricing. Such information is vital to the formulation of viable export strategies to tackle market competitiveness issues, helping expand the market for Malawian rice.

Project Details

Country
Country
Sectors

Resources

RCT findings from a garment factory upgrading programme in Burma

As part of its work in Myanmar's garment market, BIF provided garment factories with training on productivity and human resource management. The effectiveness of this training was measured through a randomised controlled trial led by an independent academic institution. This paper presents the findings from the RCT and associated lessons learnt which may be of particular interest to donor programmes considering a similar intervention.

BIF Myanmar inclusive tourism products map

This map provides the location and details of tourism products and packages supported with grants and technical assistance through BIF's Tourism Product and Package Innovation Competition.

How to maximise the benefits of garment factory training for your business, your workers and the industry

A 'how to' guide for garment factory managers and owners demonstrating the business case for investing in factory improvement services, and outlining some practical steps on how to implement change and access support.

BIF Toolkit - How to Set Up a Travel Hub [Myanmar Version]

Are you interested in setting up a Travel Hub? Read on! A Travel Hub is a place where visitors can get accurate information about accommodation, transportation, local activities and, where appropriate, Myanmar-wide travel. Travel Hubs are located in places that tourists typically congregate - coffee shops, motorbike rental shops or restaurants. They are designed to provide an additional stream of revenue to a business that already has a reliable client base of tourists. Furthermore, host businesses benefit from enhanced marketing, capacity building for staff and potentially becoming part of a nation-wide network.

The Business Case for Factory Improvement Services in Myanmar [Chinese language]

As part of its work in Myanmar’s garment sector, BIF provided garment factories with training and consulting services on productivity and Human Resource (HR) management. Fourteen factories participated in the training, the headline results of which are detailed in this two-page document.

The Business Case for Factory Improvement Services in Myanmar [Myanmar language]

As part of its work in Myanmar’s garment sector, BIF provided garment factories with training and consulting services on productivity and Human Resource (HR) management. Fourteen factories participated in the training, the headline results of which are detailed in this two-page document.

Our Partners