Foreign financial aid would fund 12 of the projects, and the remaining four would be funded by loans, he said.
The 2012 Farmland Law allowed foreign investment flow into the agricultural sector, on which more than 70 percent of Myanmar’s population depends. But investment has been limited because of the loss of farmland tenure, high land prices driven by speculation and the weakness of the rule of law, said Pyithu Hluttaw representative Thura U Aung Ko from Chin State’s Kanpetlet township.
More than 70 percent of foreign investments go to extracting natural resources such as oil, gas and mining, but just 1pc has gone to agriculture, he said.
The deputy minister told parliament that the government had met throughout last year with 65 foreign companies prepared to put capital into agriculture.
Foreign investment is low because of discrepancies between the Foreign Investment Law and the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law, he said. The Foreign Investment Law allows an initial 50 years of investment, while the land management law allowed a maximum of only 30 years.
China, Thailand, South Korea and Japan invest in the agricultural sector. China has invested in sugarcane and fruit plantations in the north, whereas Thailand has invested in vegetable and fruit plantations in Nay Pyi Taw and Shan State.
South Korea has invested in plantations in Nay Pyi Taw, and Japan in fruit plantations and establishing cold storage systems in Nay Pyi Taw.