Myanmar's Untapped Opportunities
Myanmar is a land naturally blessed for agricultural possibility. It has one of the highest per capita endowments of arable land (0.22 hectare per capita) and fresh water (24,164 cubic metres per person per year) in the world, and six different climate zones, well-suited to grow tropical as well as sub-tropical crops. The country has the potential to not only achieve food security and self-sufficiency, but also become a reliable supplier of food and processed agricultural commodities.

Myanmar's agriculture sector can go far in achieving food security and self-sufficiency, both for itself and the world, if it undertakes to:

  • Maximize its competitive advantage in commodities where it is already one of the world’s largest producers - rice, pulses, sesame and groundnut, through output and productivity gains
  • Appropriate a larger value share by doing secondary and tertiary processing along the agriculture value chain, and
  • Diversify into commodities that offer higher returns on investment and valuable strategic benefits
However, there are challenges key of which are a lack of modern infrastructure, underdeveloped legal and banking systems and a relatively unskilled labour force.

If Myanmar can galvanize enough private sector investments into its agribusiness sector, it could bring almost $15 billion of annual export earnings within a decade, providing jobs and higher incomes to millions in the process.

This offers multinational agribusiness companies good opportunities to be a part of Myanmar’s economic transformation. Besides achieving food security and self-sufficiency, Myanmar could become a key supplier of many other food and processed agricultural commodities to the world.
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