InfraCo Asia divests stake to partners in Myanmar rice project

Singapore companies GSPI and SAT will now take Myanmar Hybrid Rice Seed Project to the next level, with further private sector investment targeted.

InfraCo Asia has sold its stake in Golden Sunland Singapore (GSS), the holding company for the Myanmar Hybrid Rice Seed Project, to joint venture partners GSPI and SAT. Transaction details were not disclosed.

The project, designed to improve the yield and quality of smallholder rice production, should deliver value to the paddy rice industry in Myanmar by developing optimal seed varieties, creating training programs for smallholder farmers, with a positive impact along the whole chain from field preparation to export, InfraCo Asia said.

It also hopes to improve returns for local farmers and capitalize on the rice-producing potential of the country, which has a population of 54 million people and was once Asia’s largest rice exporter.  This is particularly important given agriculture is the country’s main industry, accounting for 60 percent of GDP and employing some 60 percent of the labor force.

InfraCo Asia Development, which is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group, had provided early-stage funding and development support for the project in 2017. Together, InfraCo Asia, GSPI and SAT have brought the project to the point where GSS can take it to the next stage of commercialization and operation, with the potential to raise new private sector investment.

“Without InfraCo Asia’s support, GSS would not have been able to reach where we are now and be in a strong position to take the project forward,” said Edmund Lam and David Chen, directors of GSPI and SAT respectively. While Allard Nooy, chief executive of InfraCo Asia, said: “I look forward to seeing the continued growth and success of the Myanmar Hybrid Rice Seed Project, ultimately leading to a positive impact on the farmers in the communities involved.”

During the companies’ involvement in the development phase, a seed center was created and preparatory work conducted to establish a community-based organization to work with farmers on a larger scale. Planning and permitting efforts were also made for the construction of a rice mill that will produce finished product for sale in Myanmar and for export to Singapore.

InfraCo Asia’s Mayanmar program is funded by the UK Department for International Development (UKAid) through PIDG in a bid to promote economic development and combat poverty.