Domestic market strives to stabilize edible oil price in addition to local consumption

29 July 2020

Myanmar is one of the countries that are consuming edible oil the most.  There has been an increase in the population of the country every year with a promotion in standard of living. A variety of dish is extensively created and consumed. At the same time, the consumption of edible oil has been increasing year after year.

The consumption of edible oil amounts to about 1.1 million tons in a year.  The consumption market uses about 500,000 or 600,000 tons while commercial, manufacturing, hotel and tourism uses about 500,000 tons, according to Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association. About 350,000 ton of edible oil can be produced and about 700,000 tons of edible oil has to be imported from abroad.

U Paing Phyo Thant, General Secretary of Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association, said, “The demand for edible oil was high once the first case of COVID-19 was found in Myanmar. We discussed with the relevant department over the high demand and so there was no shortage of edible oil. Until 23 July, we still have more than 40,000 tons of edible oil remaining and it is intended for import. The requirement of edible oil for one month is 55,000 tons. Next month the vessel carrying edible oil is going to arrive. The food shortage will not be any longer in the future. The import of edible oil is sufficient enough for the country. These days, the price of edible oil is a little higher.  This was because the prices of edible oil and crude oil went down during the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore the price of edible oil also decreased. The floods occurred in Malaysia and Indonesia, two major countries of producing palm oil and their production decreased by 17 per cent below the regular production volume.”

It is hoped that the price of edible oil will become stable back in Malaysia and Indonesia during August and September. There are many different kinds of oils in the domestic market. The prices are also different. Most of the people consume edible oil and its price is a little higher these days.

Daw Hnin Hnin Myat, Owner of Phyo Pyae Edible Oil Shop in Nyaung Pin Lay Market, said, “The sale force decreases by half during COVID-19 outbreak. But the price is high. The price of edible oil jumps up by K 100 per viss and the today price is K1,710. The reason for the price hike depends on foreign currency. There is no fluctuation in the price of groundnut oil and the edible oil is in more demand.  We can buy the edible oil as much as we can, but when we sell it back, there are only a few customers. The buyers from the countryside are not many. There may be door-to-door sale in the wards. The companies make field trip to sell the oil to the consumers by door-to-door system. In the past, there were alms-giving ceremonies during the Buddhist lent and so the demand was good. Now I don’t think the sale force is better because the restriction on gathering of more than five people is still in effect.”

In the county, a person is regularly using about one viss of oil in a month. It seems to be higher in the consumption. But in comparison with neighbouring countries, the consumption isn’t still much, according to Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association. Plans are underway to raise public awareness of how to choose the suitable oil as the oil consumption becomes higher.

U Paing Phyo Thant, General Secretary of Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association, said, “Our Myanmar people like to consume oil. Oil contains in the noodle salad we have as the breakfast. It is not easy for us to avoid the oil when we have meals. We have to consume the oil unavoidably. Regarding the use of oil, the oil is fried for several times. In connection with the storage of the oil, we still need to conduct public awareness in our country. How many times is the oil fried? How many times is the oil used? How much temperature is the oil heated? Our association will place more attention in the future. Everyone has the right to use the oil of own choice. The most important thing is to use the oil hygienically.”

Myanmar imports 90 per cent of edible oil from Indonesia and 10 per cent from Malaysia in order to deal with the local oil consumption. Myanmar imports sun flower oil from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine. Other oils including soy-bean oil are also imported depending on the market demand situation. 

Zwe Mahn