Agriculture sector still accounts for less than 1% of total FDI

DSC 5617 Farmers reap crops under the bright sun and hot weather. Photo Phoe Kwar copy
Farmers harvest rice in Ayeyawady Delta.  Photo: Phoe Kwar

The farming industry still makes up less than one per cent of the total foreign direct investments, said U Than Aung Kyaw, deputy director-general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.
Between April and June this year, only US$5.6 million worth of FDI went into the agriculture sector from one investment project.
U Than Aung Kyaw continued to say that currently, now the rice mill industry has seen an influx of FDI. Foreign investors are likely to invest in sugarcane growing the rice mill industry, seed industry and manufacturing of finished agro products in the near future. These FDIs are proposed for the China-Myanmar economic corridor projects.
The country received investments from China (Taipei), the Netherlands and the US, representing 0.5 per cent of the total FDI. Investment from the farming industry this year still accounts for less than one per cent of total FDI.
The new Myanmar Investment Law allows up to 80 % of foreign investment in the agriculture sector. Also, foreigners have the opportunity to invest 100 per cent in seed production. However, the sector has seen no significant progress so far.
Dr Soe Tun from the Myanmar Rice Federation, said that foreign investors have interests to invest in the farming industry. The sector sees a relatively-low FDI influx as it is a long-term investment and is directly associated with the climate. There may be some risks for investors to make investments in the farming sector. It is still difficult to implement a crop insurance system in Myanmar. Land ownership also remains an important issue. This is why investment in the agriculture sector is relatively low compared with that in the non-agriculture sector.
Investment in the agriculture industry hit $134.48 million in the 2017-2018 FY. During the first four months of the current six-month interim fiscal period starting this April, the influx of FDI into the country exceeded $1 billion, including the expansion of existing investments, with the majority of FDI going to the country’s manufacturing sector.
The Myanmar Investment Commission has a plan to extend a helping hand to those who want to invest in ten prioritized areas of investment as quickly as possible, including agriculture, livestock breeding and fisheries, export promotion industries, import substitution industries, the power sector, education services, logistic industries, healthcare services, construction of affordable housing and establishment of industrial estates.


By May Thet Hnin

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