Agriculture remains a driving force of Myanmar’s economy, and the sector employs just over 70% of the country’s labour force. However, Myanmar’s agricultural productivity is low, and farm practices are still largely labour intensive.
According to the World Bank, Myanmar has the lowest profits from rice production compared to those achieved by farmers in Asia. In addition, Myanmar’s rice sector is in dire need of diversification and value-add to its output. It predominantly exports lower quality broken rice that sells at a discount to other Asian producers, and the majority of these rice exports are absorbed by the highly price-sensitive West African market. At the same time, there has been tremendous growth in the demand for rice vermicelli in the Asia Pacific region and in Europe.
In Asia, this trend is largely due to factors associated with growth of developing countries in the region, itself supported by increasing urbanisation, development of the retail sector and distribution infrastructure leading to increasing demand for packaged goods at affordable prices. As such the project presents an attractive opportunity for investment with great impact for the local communities.