Mandalay’s Rice Industry Association claimed that it was not involved in the alleged misappropriation of rice reserves that was reported in The Voice Weekly news journal on 24 September.
According to the periodical’s report, Myanmar Rice Federation’s spokesperson Dr Soe Tun said that said merchants from Mandalay were buying rice reserves that were being distributed at wholesale centres in Rangoon and exporting the stockpiles to China for profit.
At a press conference yesterday, the Mandalay Rice Industry Association claimed they had no involvement in the alleged misappropriation of rice reserves that were being distributed at wholesale centres in accordance with the state’s buffer stock scheme to bring down rice prices.
The alleged scandal comes as the Myanmar [Burma] Rice Federation began selling off 10,000 bags of rice stockpiles a day to combat inflation after flooding destroyed about 600,000 acres of paddy across the country this summer.
“We held the press conference to clarify that the Mandalay Rice Industry Association has no involvement in the alleged [misappropriation of rice] reported by the journal. [Soe Tun] was quoted in the article as saying the [Myanmar IRF] knows who those merchants are so we would like to see some action taken upon them,” said Mandalay IRF’s joint-secretary Tin Hlaing Win.
“So seemingly, the [MRF] sold the rice to these particular merchants knowing they are exporters to China – in this case, both the buyers and sellers are accountable.”
According to Soe Tun, the association’s records should contain the necessary information to follow up on who purchased the stockpiles at state outlets.
“You can’t buy rice casually,” said Soe Tun. “You need to open a voucher first and then have to pick up [the rice] from the warehouse.”