Five companies have won contracts for the export of 50,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka by June, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation. Commerce minister Dr Than Myint held talks with a delegation led by the Sri Lanka ambassador to Myanmar, KWND Karunaratne, at his office in Nay Pyi Taw on January 23 and signed a memorandum of understanding on rice exports. An MRF official said: “We invited companies to submit bids for rice exports to Sri Lanka. Only 10 companies applied. Of them, we have selected five companies.” Sri Lanka’s rice production has declined by about 200,000 tonnes after a drought last year. Sri Lanka is reducing rising rice prices and the control of rice millers by reducing import tariffs. Since April, Myanmar has exported 1.15 million tonnes of rice and broken rice, down nearly 150,000 tonnes from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. With more countries offering to buy rice from Myanmar, exports are expected to reach last year’s level, said Khin Maung Lwin, assistant permanent secretary of the ministry. In 2015-16, the country exported 1.5 million tonnes of rice.