Whose Crops, At What Price? Agricultural investment in Myanmar | Agriculture | Foreign Direct Investment

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After years of international isolation, Myanmar is liberalizing its economy and seeking to attract foreign investment. But while foreign investment can play an important role in developing the country
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  OXFAM DISCUSSION PAPERS FEBRUARY   2017 Oxfam Discussion Papers   Oxfam Discussion Papers are written to contribute to public debate and to invite feedback on development and humanitarian policy issues. They are „work in progress‟ documents, and do no t necessarily constitute final publications or reflect Oxfam policy positions. The views and recommendations expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Oxfam. For more information, or to comment on this paper, email jburnley@oxfam.org.uk www.oxfam.org WHOSE CROPS, AT WHAT PRICE?  Agricultural investment in Myanmar After years of international isolation, Myanmar is liberalizing its economy and seeking to attract foreign investment. But while foreign investment can play an important role in developing t he country’s  agriculture sector, in the current environment of limited transparency and accountability, an increase in agribusiness investments poses serious risks to the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and others dependent on land. This paper looks at the current level and types of agribusiness investment into Myanmar, outlines potential risks to communities posed by these investments, and explores state regulation of outbound investments as a potential way to promote responsible business practices in the sector. The paper makes a series of recommendations to the Government of Myanmar, foreign governments with investment interests in Myanmar and businesses investing in or sourcing from Myanmar on improving scrutiny and monitoring of investments, tackling land rights abuses and ensuring that companies honour their responsibilities to respect human rights.  2 Whose Crops, At What Price? Agricultural investment in Myanmar CONTENTS Summary ............................................................................................................ 5   1   Introduction ................................................................................................ 9   2   Why is agricultural investment in Myanmar important? ....................... 11    A snapshot of agriculture in myanmar .............................................................. 11  A sector dominated by small-scale farming ...................................................... 12   Growing land concessions ................................................................................ 13   Contract farming ............................................................................................... 14   3   Foreign investment into Myanmar .......................................................... 16   Regional investment in agriculture .................................................................... 18   4   Impacts and risks associated with agricultural investment in Myanmar 25   Consequences of weak transparency ............................................................... 25   Land conflict, displacement and resettlement ................................................... 26   Impact of agriculture investments on women .................................................... 27   Risks to investors ............................................................................................. 28   5   International standards and guidelines for responsible investment ... 30   6   State regulation of outbound investments ............................................ 33   Guidelines related to chinese overseas investment and finance ....................... 33   The Thai national human rights commission..................................................... 34    ASEAN intergovernmental commission on human rights .................................. 35   7   Conclusion and recommendations......................................................... 36   Notes................................................................................................................ 41    Whose Crops, At What Price? Agricultural investment in Myanmar 3  ACRONYMS  ACMECS Ayeyawady  – Chao Phraya  – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy  ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations  AICHR Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights BHRRC Business and Human Rights Resource Centre BIDV Bank for Development and Investment of Vietnam BIT Bilateral investment treaty CBRC China Banking Regulatory Commission CFS Committee on World Food Security COFCO China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation CP Charoen Pokphand Group CSO Civil society organization DICA Directorate of Investment and Company Administration ESIA Environmental and social impact assessment FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FDI Foreign direct investment FPIC Free, prior and informed consent GDP Gross domestic product GoM Government of Myanmar ICJ International Commission of Jurists IFC International Finance Corporation IMF International Monetary Fund KNU Karen National Union KSL Khon Kaen Sugar LCG Land Core Group MCRB Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business MIC Myanmar Investment Commission MNHRC Myanmar National Human Rights Commission MOAI Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation MOECAF Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry MOFCOM Ministry of Commerce of the People‟ s Republic of China MRF Myanmar Rice Federation MSU Michigan State University NHRC Office of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand NLUP National Land Use Policy NSPAW National Plan for the Advancement of Women  4 Whose Crops, At What Price? Agricultural investment in Myanmar OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development SFA State Forestry Administration of the People‟s Republic of China  UNGPs United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights VFV Law Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Land Management Law VGGT Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests VRG Vietnam Rubber Group
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