The chairman of Yoma Strategic Holdings told an audience in the Philippines this week that Burma was an attractive investment option for Filipino agribusiness, The Manila Times reported.
Rice, banana, and coconut were among the promising sectors for Filipino investors suggested by U Tin Htut Oo, who was speaking as a recipient of the DL Umali Award of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
Burma's new foreign investment policy, which allows 100 percent foreign ownership, will have implementing rules by next year, he said.
"The law provides a lot of benefits and incentives because Myanmar needs investment not only for capital but for technology and market access," U Tin Htut Oo said.
"The Philippines is a rice importing country. Myanmar is a rice surplus country. For Filipino entrepreneurs, why not come to Myanmar and invest? You grow it [in Burma]. We buy it. We mill it, and we export it to the Philippines," said the SEARCA awardee, who was being recognized for his contribution to Burma's agriculture sector.
The Philippines was considered a global leader in coconut and banana plantations, he said. "You are successful in coconut, [in which] you have downstream businesses. We're not utilizing coconut as much as the Philippines. It's not a commercial crop. Filipino entrepreneurs can turn our industry [into a commercial one].''
Technologies in fruits were another key area with potential for Burma-Philippines cooperation, U Tin Htut Oo added.
"Filipino entrepreneurs can bring in a lot of technology, most especially the market. You have everything on the downstream side. Myanmar has all the land and the farmers, but has no access to markets. It's a good marriage for both of us."
Filipino companies that have already invested in Burma include the SL Agritech Corp. and Universal Robina Corp.