FDI ignoring agro-industry: MP

Only one per cent of foreign direct investment (FDI) goes to Myanmar's agricultural sector due to farmland grabs, land price manipulation and weak laws, MP Thura Aung Ko told Parliament on Thursday.

Foreign companies had invested more than Ks 50.6 billion in 828 of the country's businesses to the end of November last year, mostly in mining, oil and natural gas exploration, he said. However, 70 per cent of the country's population comprises farmers living in rural areas, he pointed out.

He urged that action be taken immediately to improve conditions in the agricultural industry as FDI is essential if the sector is to be developed. He questioned whether the government could expect more FDIs into the sector while farmland disputes and unfavourable laws continue. 

Deputy Agriculture Minister Ohn Than replied that last year there were 65 foreign companies in discussions about possible investment in the sector with negotiations still ongoing.

The government is in talks with various groups about 12 supporting projects and four loan projects worth US$ 927.78 million to aid the sector's development, Ohn Than added.