Non-paper - 3 Aug 2017 - Opportunities and Challenges in Myanmar's Agricultural Sector7 สิงหาคม 2560
In Myanmar, the agriculture sector plays an important role in the country’s economy, as agricultural products are the second largest export commodity. The World Bank estimated that agricultural products account for 38% of national GDP and 23% of total exports. 70% of Myanmar’s population lives in rural areas, which mainly depend on farmland and forests for their livelihoods. As a result, the agriculture sector is one of the important driving forces of rural development. At present, the government is reforming policies and laws to govern the country’s agricultural sector and achieve targets under the economic plan of July 2016.
It is estimated that less than 1% of foreign investment has contributed to the agricultural sector. However, some agricultural activities have attracted investment from foreign entities, such as China, Thailand, South Korea, and Japan. For instance, China has invested in sugarcane and fruit plantations, while Thailand has invested in vegetable and fruit plantations throughout the country.
According to the Deputy Minister of Commerce, U Aung Htoo, Myanmar exported 6.49 million tonnes of agricultural products, worth US$ 2.928 million, in the fiscal year 2016-2017. Rice is the primary product in the country, which accounts for 60% of production value. Rice is grown on nearly 20 million acres (7.8 million hectares) during the two seasons of summer and monsoon. Due to the limited availability of irrigation, farmers can only grow 3 million acres of summer crop.Myanmar’s second agricultural product for export is beans and pulses. In 2014, the beans and pulses export value reached US$ 835 million, which exceeded the value of rice exports. Myanmar is the world’s second largest exporter of beans and pulses after Canada. Myanmar’s main export markets are India, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Bangladesh and China. Other top agricultural products include maize, black gram, green gram, pigeon pea, chick pea, sesame, onion, tamarind, raw rubber, vegetables and fruits.
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