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A roadmap to building Myanmar into the food basket of Asia

By David DuByne and Hishamuddin Koh - posted Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ambitious plans by the Myanmar Central Government to catapult the country's agriculture industry into becoming the Foodbasket of Asia within the 21st Century will require tenacity and a steady flow of investments to upgrade machinery, seed stock, fertilizer input, and crop handling methods.

A roadmap to rebuild the former foodbasket of Asia was offered during this year's 2014 Myanmar Agribusiness Investment Summit in Yangon, organised by Confexhub.

Agribusiness has emerged at the forefront of recent government development policies as a key driver for socio-economic development of the country. MAIS 2014 was specially designed to support the current government's policy to accelerate rural and national development by engagingboth Government and private sectors of Myanmar's agribusinesses to cooperate and collaborate with foreign investors.


To succeed in Myanmar's agribusinesses environment we need to have crystal clear understanding of the market potentials and investment opportunities, land availability, license and standard policies, legal and tax issues, financing and facilities availability. Foreign companies interested to invest in Myanmar's agribusinesses must understand the rules and regulations set forth by the Myanmar government under the Foreign Direct Investment Law (FDI) of the country which was unveiled in October 2012.

Key Needs to Modernize Myanmar's Agriculture Industry

Realizing that the current government is committed to agribusiness development models as a way to achieve rapid and sustainable economic growth countrywide, let us fill you in on what was discussed at the MAIS 2014 conference and where are the opportunities.

Key Points: Introduction and production of hybrid seeds, mechanization of farming communities and improvements in handling and storage of crops and distribution and marketing of agro-products. Myanmar is ready and welcomes investment in these particular key areas which should have the greatest impact in the shortest possible time.

Ways Forward through Agribusiness Foreign Investment

Myanmar's farmers can add 30%+ to their yield just by employing better drying and storage techniques of seeds. These same farmers re-use 20% of their harvest as seed to replant for the next season, but poor storage techniques and high humidity lower quality and yield in the following year's planting. This is where Hybrid and high yielding seeds are needed, along with efficient land preparation, selection of seeds and improved cultivation practices.


A great majority of Myanmar agriculture comprises small and medium family farmers owning ten acres or less and with the guidance of the Agricultural Mechanization Department (AMD), plans are underway to move to bigger acreage of cultivation system allowing wider and more economic use of machineries and equipment.

With modern equipment, farmers can reduce losses in harvesting by use of combines, threshers, dryers that are all easy to operate and maintain. There are currently huge losses because of poor handling and processing.

One drawback in mechanisation is that machines run on fuel and rural villages generally cannot afford the fuel. To really penetrate the countryside we need to introduce human/hand powered farm processing devices.

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David DuByne's company offers advice on entering Myanmar's agricultural sector.

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About the Authors

David DuByne is Chief Editor of and a consultant for companies distributing products into Myanmar as well as a sourcing agent for Myanmar agri exports. He can be reached through ddubyne (at)

Hishamuddin Koh is Executive Chairman of the Myanmar Plantation Management & Advisory Co., (MPMAC) and Myanmar Food Technology, also Executive Advisor of Confexhub. He can be reached through kohisham (at)

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by David DuByne
All articles by Hishamuddin Koh

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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