Agricultural investment by foreign enterprises has brought opportunities and challenges to poor people living in the Mekong River Basin. Oxfam Hong Kong has been supporting research on this issue since 2010 in an effort to develop an agricultural investment strategy to maximise the benefits for smallholder farmers and their environments in these countries, and to minimise the risks and costs. Oxfam Hong Kong’s research also aims to raise the awareness of stakeholders and facilitate dialogue among them.
The conference focused on the direction, current situation, achievements, and limitations of Myanmar agricultural development and Chinese agricultural investment in Myanmar. Representatives from the two countries also exchanged experiences in agricultural development and discussed major achievements and problems. Representatives from ministries, corporations, NGOs and academic institutes exchanged opinions on cooperation between China and Myanmar and on the practice of China's foreign investment in agriculture; they also offered policy recommendations on how to promote social responsibility in China’s agricultural investment in Myanmar.
Participants from China included representatives from the Policy Planning Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Policy Research Office of Yunnan Provincial Committee, Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, Yunnan University, Yunnan Agricultural University, Xiamen University, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, and China-Myanmar Friendship Association.
Representatives from Myanmar came from the Department of Agriculture Research under Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Myanmar Embassy in China, Myanmar National Economic and Social Advisory Council, Myanmar Sugar Cane and Sugar Related Products Merchants and Manufacturer's Association, Myanmar Rubber Planters and Producers Association, Myanmar Development Resource Institute, Myanmar Livestock Resources Development Association, Myanmar Farmers' Association, Myanmar Food Security Working Group, and Mandalay's Fuqing Confucius Institute.
Participants said that the conference deepened their understanding of the agricultural investment climate in Myanmar, of the opportunities and challenges of agricultural investment, and of CSR.