This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 11/29/2018
Overview
The agriculture sector is one of the most important sectors for the country's economy; agricultural goods are Myanmar’s second largest export commodity.  The agriculture sector contributes 38% of GDP, accounts for 20 to 30% of total export earnings and employs more than 70% of the workforce.  12.8 million hectares out of 67.6 million hectares of land in Myanmar are cultivated land.  Rice is the country's primary agricultural product, which accounts for nearly 43% of the total agricultural production value.  In Myanmar, 70% of the country's population live in rural areas and their livelihood drives the agriculture sector as an important growth engine of rural development.  In July 2016, the Government of Myanmar officially announced a 12-point economic plan targeted at developing a market-oriented economy.  The government focuses on strengthening farming production, enhancing food security, increasing exports and improving living standards of the rural population, which depends on farming as their first and key source of income.

Myanmar Agricultural Production Data
 Year
Commodity2012-2013 (April – March)2013-2014 (April- March)2014-2015 (April-March)2015-2016
(April- Sept)
Agricultural Products
($ Million)
2,636.92,674.92,923.51,367.6
Total Exports
($ Million)
8,977.011,204.012,523.75,611.0
% of agriculture export in total export29.3723.8723.3424.37
Source: Myanmar Statistical Year Book (CSO)

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grain and Feed Report of 2018, production of rice and corn in Myanmar is forecast to increase in Marketing Year (MY) 2017-18 due to increased farm mechanization and use of higher yielding seeds.  Rice production is forecast to increase by 4.4% in MY 2017-18 due to expectations of more favorable weather, high price incentives, and increased use of farm machinery.  Corn production is expected to increase by 2% in MY 2017-18 due to expansion of both monsoon season main crop and dry season corn growing areas, particularly in Shan State (eastern part of the country), central dry zone and delta region (lower part of Burma), and the replacement of pulses with corn.  Wheat production is limited and increasing demand is expected to be met with imports.

Myanmar’s rice exports are forecast to decrease by 10% in MY 2017-18 in anticipation of lower old crop supply.  Myanmar’s corn exports in MY 2017-18 is likely to increase 3.4% as a result of robust demand from China and an anticipated easing of border inspections along the Myanmar and China border.  Wheat imports are expected to increase 13% in MY 2017-18 as a result of changing consumer preferences and resulting higher domestic demand.

Rice exports are expected to rise to 3.1 million metric tons in MY 2018-19 due to stronger demand from China and the European Union.  Corn exports are also likely to expand in line with continued demand from China.  Wheat imports are expected to grow in response to rising demand from the bakery sector.

Myanmar’s top agricultural exports include rice, maize, black gram, green gram, pigeon pea, chick pea, sesame, onion, tamarind, raw rubber, vegetables, and fruits.  Myanmar’s major import items in the agricultural sector are power tillers, hand tractors, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, diesel oil, dumpers, loaders and spare parts, water pumps, hydraulic excavators, gear box assembly for hand tractors, MS rod & mild steel, hybrid and quality seeds.
Myanmar does not yet have laws or regulations pertaining to Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) crops or seeds, which are currently imported without any restrictions.

Leading Sub-Sectors
Agricultural Machinery and Equipment:  Myanmar could position itself in the global supply chain market by moving up the production value chain and making finished goods with the help of advanced machinery and equipment.  Currently, Myanmar depends on traditional manual labor and lacks the advanced technology needed to produce value-added finished goods.  Developing agro-based industry is one of the top priorities for both the government and domestic members of the private sector.  The Government of Myanmar has consistently encouraged farm enterprises to move beyond exporting raw agricultural products and produce high quality finished goods with the help of refineries, packaging facilities and advanced mills.

There is market potential for U.S. manufacturers of agricultural equipment and farm machinery.  Machinery used in the assembly and manufacturing of light to heavy agricultural machinery, power tillers, walking tractors, water pumps, sprinklers, drip irrigation sets, transplanters, treshers, seeders, weeders, dryers and farm storage facilities are all in high demand.

         Utilization of Farm Machinery in Myanmar
Types of farm Machines2013/142014/152016/172017/18 (Projected)
Power tiller257,971286,097300,247305,000                                                                              
Cultivating Roller Boat5,4036,0657,4679,000
Tresher55,10461,79361,99765,000
Combine Harvester6681,6802,5213,000
Transplant122169286350
 
         Source: Department of Farm Mechanization, MoALI

Fertilizer:  Myanmar has a very competitive fertilizer market compare to other ASEAN countries and the fertilizer industry is attracting a growing number of foreign investors.  Fertilizer is one of the most imported items in this sector; Myanmar imports about 80% of chemical fertilizers from China and Thailand, estimated at between 1.2 and 1.4 million tons per annum.  Myanmar produces domestically 15% of fertilizers and does not have a competitive advantage in fertilizer production at this time despite having natural gas as a resource for ammonia production.

Organic farming is strongly encouraged by the GOM.  However, due to the slow results of organic fertilizers, local farmers prefer chemical fertilizers, which offer quicker results and more opportunities to harvest. 
American fertilizer companies can find opportunities to export to Myanmar as the demand for high quality fertilizer continues to rise.  The GOM has set targets for higher agricultural output and domestic dealers are constantly looking for higher quality fertilizer options than those currently being used and available in the market.

Other sub-sectors with excellent prospects for investment opportunities are chemicals production, transport, storage, wholesale, processing, and agricultural services, contract farming, irrigation system and facillities, farm industry, research and development, value-added production, packaging industry for local agricultural produce, warehouses and cold storages facilities, service support for supply chain, microfinance and trade finance services for local farmers.

Opportunities
Foreign investment in the agriculture sector is only 0.5% of total FDI, so there are huge investment opportunities available for the U.S. investors.  The GOM encourages both local and foreign investors to consider investing in either a joint venture or a 100% investment in areas such as agro-based industries, assembling and manufacturing light agricultural machinery and small farm implements, manufacturing agricultural inputs and related support products.  According to the Ministry of Commerce Notification No. 96/2015 dated November 11, 2015, foreigners can trade in products such as fertilizers, insemination seeds and pesticides as joint ventures with Myanmar citizens with no minimum share percentage for the local citizens. 

Web Resources
International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)  (https://ifdc.org/myanmar/)
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) (http://irri.org/our-work/locations/myanmar)
Myanmar Pulses, Beans & Sesame Seeds Merchants Association  (http://www.mpbsma.org/)
Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers Association  (https://www.meoma.org/)
Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association  (http://www.mfvp.org/)
Myanmar Rice Federation (http://myanmarricefederation.org/)

Contact Information
U.S. Commercial Service Myanmar
Ms. Ummay Aiman
Commercial Specialist
Email: Ummay.Aiman@trade.gov
 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Burma Agribusiness Trade Development and Promotion