Investor interest in the agriculture and livestock sector in Kayah State has been on the rise in recent years, Daw May Myo Zaw, secretary of Kayah State Investment Committee, told The Myanmar Times.
According to the 2018 Kayah State Investment Opportunities Survey released by the committee, investors had identified the agriculture and product manufacturing for the sector as one of the areas with most potential for growth and returns.
In addition, most respondents of the survey believed prospects over the next three years in Kayah are either good or excellent
Kayah has indeed enjoyed a higher flow of funds since May last year, after the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) opened its office Kayah and the Kayah State Investment Committee formed in July 2017.
The committee has since endorsed three citizen hotel construction projects worth K6 billion, according to DICA.
But Kayah has also enjoyed foreign direct investments (FDI) over the period. Earlier this year, De Heus Myanmar, the Netherlands-headquartered animal feed company, opened its second facility in Kayah.
Another livestock feed manufacturer, JAPFA Comfeed Myanmar, has commenced a one year pilot project under which it will plant maize with farmers. If successful, JAPFA Comfeed, which is headquartered in Indonesia, will qualify to grow maize across a 20,000 acre site in Kayah for the long term.
Local investors have shown interest in the sector, too. U Ngwe Tun, founder of Genius Shan Highlands Coffee, which exports coffee, said he is planning to open a coffee plantation in Kayah State within a year.
“We have proposed this to the Kayah regional government. We aim to grow and harvest coffee beans across a 50,000 acre plantation in Kayah State within the next seven years,” he said.
“We chose to invest in Kayah because it is convenient for border trade and competition is still low,” he added.
The regional government has also upped efforts to draw FDI into other sectors of the Kayah economy, with promising results. After the Kayah Investment Forum was held in May, the state has received proposals from foreign investors for the construction of cinemas, marble production, tourism, hotel development as well as in agriculture, said Daw May Myo Zaw.
She added that the Kayah Investment Committee will soon endorse several of the proposals.
The developments are new for Kayah State, which received FDI amounting to just $2.5 million for a single project between January 1988 and August 2017, according to DICA.
Meanwhile, just three local companies have invested K181 billion in the state over the same period.
Still, investors eyeing opportunities in Kayah should be aware of the risks of doing business in the state, including security, lack of talent, high land prices, limited technology and illegal border trade.