Myanmar sees encouraging foreign engagement in agricultural sector

YANGON, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) — Myanmar has seen some encouraging foreign engagement in the development of its agricultural sector, in which foreign investment accounts for only 0.43 percent of the total.

The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) recently granted 300,000 U.S. dollars’ aid to Myanmar to carry out project for agricultural development.

The 18-month project from October 2013 to March 2015 will be implemented in three villages of central Magway region.

The project will mainly focus on capacity building courses for rural development, workshops and demonstration on development of agricultural and livestock sector.

Civil society organizations and donors from home and abroad will be among those taking part in the project along with government departments.

IFAD is also cooperating with Myanmar for huge investment by private sector on required high technology and processing plants for export of agricultural produces including paddy to the international market.

Besides, Tony Blair Association will also provide necessary assistance for rural development and help Myanmar draft electrification and drinking water supply plan and comprehensive development plan.

Early this month, two companies of Myanmar and Japan vowed to cooperate in producing rice in Myanmar and then export them to third countries.

The cooperation is to be made by Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation (MAPC) and Japanese Mitsui Co.,Ltd under the name of Myanmar Japan Rice Industry Co.,Ltd (MJRI).

Mitsui Co.,Ltd will make 100 million U.S. dollars’ investment for producing quality rice in the country.

Of the produced rice, 100,000 ton will be exported , while 5, 000 tons will be sold in domestic market

Mitsui will also provide technical aid for producing high- quality rice in the country.

Under an Integrated Rice Complex Project, 50-ton-capacity rice mill will be built in Tontay Township of Yangon.

Myanmar exported rice to Japan for the first time in May this year after a suspension of nearly 50 years.

Meanwhile, Mitsui and Vina Capital from Vietnam will also join with MAPC in Myanmar’s agricultural development.

Under a memorandum of understanding, integrated food and energy factories and advanced rice grinding and purifying mills will be set up in Yangon, Ayeyawady and Bago regions as well as Nay Phi Taw.

Moreover, Myanmar also signed a MoU with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) recently on cooperation in development of Myanmar rice under Myanmar Rice Sector Development Strategy and Program.

Meanwhile, the government is also increasing agricultural loan to farmers to address their need of the injection of capital in the sector.

As of July 2013, foreign investment in Myanmar’s agricultural sector totaled 185.351 million U.S. dollars in 10 projects, accounting for only 0.43 percent of the total since the country opened to such investment in late 1988.

Myanmar exported 1.3 million tons of rice, gaining 544 million U.S. dollars in 2012-13, up from 707,200 tons and 267.2 million dollars respectively in the previous fiscal year, according to the government’s statistics.


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