Author: Oak Kyaw Hein | 08 Nov 2017

A farm that uses a tractor to grow rice near U Bein bridge in Mandalay

Foreign companies have been eying My­anmar’s agriculture sector for investment, as they see many opportu­nities to improve farm­ing, according to the My­anmar Rice Federation (MRF).

‘‘Countries such as Ja­pan, China, Taiwan, Sin­gapore and Brunei have been showing interest in joint ventures to invest within the rice produc­tion sector,’’ U Aung Than Oo, Secretary of Myanmar Rice Federation, said.

It is important for the struggling rice sector to access foreign markets for export, which will help farmers to generate more income. Myanmar has entered to the list of global major rice export­ers, and now has access to 53 countries including European and African countries.

Myanmar’s rice produc­tion is facing challenges with things like low pro­duction yields, low qual­ity yields, high produc­tion cost, and high cost of storage and distribution, much of which is the re­sult of a lack of infrastruc­ture and technology, ac­cording to MRF.

Investors are interested in providing things like productive seeds, ferti­lizers, crop safeguards, farming equipment, and related technologies to farmers. Joint venture companies are also work­ing with the farmers to buy rice with fixed prices.

MRF has urged the gov­ernment to adopt clear rules and regulations in order to make foreign in­vestment easier for joint ventures with local farm­ers including legal protec­tions for foreign inves­tors.

Foreign investment in the agriculture sector is relatively low when com­pared to other sectors such as garment sector. There was approximately $130 million foreign di­rect investment (FDI) in the agriculture sector from April to September 2017, according to the data from Myanmar In­vestment Commission (MIC).

There was $138 million FDI in the agriculture sec­tor in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which ended in April 2011. The 2012 fiscal year had no investments, the 2013 fiscal year had $9.69 million, the 2014 fiscal year had $20.26 million, the 2015 fiscal year had $39.66 million, and the 2016 fiscal year had $7.18 million, There was also no investment in the agricul­ture sector for the 2017 fiscal year, according to statistics of Myanmar In­vestment Commission.

Ref: https://www.mmbiztoday.com/articles/foreign-companies-eye-invest-myanmar-s-farming

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