MAPCO – The First Step for Agricultural Investment in Myanmar
Agriculture has historically been the backbone of Myanmar. That backbone remains just as prevalent today as the agricultural sector employs roughly 70% of the nation’s population. However, due to a lack of technology, know-how and necessary infrastructure, the yields of the agricultural industry are far behind what they could be. U Ye Min Aung, Chairman of the Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation (MAPCO) states, “In order for Myanmar to reach its potential, it needs an intervention. We need to foster investments and improve the rice output of Myanmar.”
MAPCO, founded in 2012, serves two main purposes. The first is to mobilize public savings to ends that will benefit the sector and the population. The second and broader goal is to connect investors with the industry to move Myanmar out of economic stagnation and into economic resurgence. The agricultural revenue of Myanmar represents between 35-40% of the national GDP and is, by most estimates, capable of growing to US $1 billion in exports alone by 2020.
MAPCO is currently engaged in two projects that it needs to attract investors for. For upstream partners, the corporation is actively building Agribusiness Service Centers around Myanmar. These service centers connect farmers (many or most of whom are still utilizing century-old techniques) with modern agricultural technology – tractors, harvesters, high-grade fertilizer and insecticide as well as training for employees. U Ye Min Aung told US-Television that, “The more of these centers that we build, the closer Myanmar will be to joining the modern era of agriculture.”
The second project that MAPCO is developing concerns downstream products. This undertaking is called the Integrated Rice Complex Project (IRCP). The IRCP works in a joint venture with the Japanese Mitsui Company aims to construct three rice mills which can take the raw materials that Myanmar is currently producing and turn them into value-added products – boosting what would have been a low-yield export into a high-yield export. The rice mills will be built in the Yangon region, Nya Pyi Taw region and Ayeyarwaddy Region and will churn out between 200 and 500 metric tons of rice per day each. Connecting these rice mills and its downstream products with FDI is a keystone step in reaching the next level of national rice production.
U Ye Min Aung went on to say, “Essential aspects for the country’s generator of wealth, such as education, legislation, private businesses and the public, are brought together through MAPCO to contribute to a greater overall wealth of our beloved Myanmar.” The partners who invest in these projects now are looking at an unprecedented opportunity to not only revitalize and re-carve the agricultural sector of Myanmar, but before long – of Asia entirely.