April-July agricultural export reaches US$954 million, down $50 million

Farmers walk in their farm outside Yebu village in Shwenyaung township, Shan State, Myanmar in this still image taken from a August 25, 2016 video.  Photo: Reuters

Export from agriculture sector reached US$954 million from 1 April to 14 July, $50 million less than last year.
Agricultural export during last FY 2016-2017 was $2.9 billion, an increase of $315 million compared to FY2015-2016. Agriculture comprised 25 per cent of total export volume, according to the Commerce Ministry.
Nonetheless, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Myanmar’s agriculture sector accounted for less than 1 per cent of all FDI. This financial year an estimated FDI of $15.21 million came into the sector, said U Hsan Myint, the deputy director-general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).
The investors are wary of regulatory obstacles and other risks including erratic weather and pests in spite of the fact that agriculture is listed in ten prioritized sectors by Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).
In addition, Myanmar’s agricultural industries suffer from lack of technical capacity and weak domestic demand. High transaction costs due to supply chain deficiencies also make it difficult to compete in Southeast Asia.
Myanmar’s main exports include low quality rice, pulses, rubber, sesame seeds and corn.
Exports from 1 April to 14 July was $3.5 billion, an increase of $470 million compared to last year.  Out of seven export groups, only agriculture sector showed decrease in trade whereas other sectors are managed to boost trade. —GNLM

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