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UK Business Ambassador James Townshend to visit Burma

James Townshend, the UK’s Business Ambassador for Agriculture will visit Burma on 20-25 January.

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The purpose of his visit is to learn about Burma Agriculture sector and identify opportunities for British business to invest in and support this critical part of Burma’s economy in the short and long term.

During his visit, Mr Townshend will meet the Myanmar Livestock Federation, rural farmers and members of the donor community to understand the reality of the agriculture sector in Burma. He will meet Government Ministers in Naypitdaw and the Rector of Yezin Agricultural University. Mr Townshend will also meet the Chairperson of the National League for Democracy, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mr Townshend said:

This will be my first visit and I am looking forward to learning more about the agriculture sector in this country. The majority of Burma’s population rely on agriculture for their basic livelihoods and I hope there are ways that British business and training institutions can support the sustainable and broad based development of the sector.

Mr Townshend will visit agriculture projects in the Delta, including a visit to Maw Tin Estate near Pathein which is a joint venture between Burmese company Yoma Strategic and British company ED&F Man aimed at producing export quality coffee. He will attend the opening of the Livestock Myanmar 2014 show and meet the British companies that are exhibiting. He will also meet the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business to discuss some of the challenges facing Burma’s agriculture sector including land rights issues.

Mr Townshend said:

British business is certainly interested in the opportunities for investing in agriculture in this country. The British companies exhibiting at Livestock Myanmar are clear evidence of this. I believe that the UK’s traditional strengths in agricultural science and farming practices could help develop Burma’s agriculture sector for the benefit of the poorest people and help return it to its former glory.

The visit is being supported by UK Trade & Investment which is the trade promotion arm of the British Government. UKTI’s mission is to support responsible British business in Burma; business that is good for Britain and good for Burma.

Key Facts:

  • James Townshend is the Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador for Agriculture. The Business Ambassador’s network was created in 2008; UK Business and University leaders work with the Government to promote the UK’s excellence internationally and highlight trade and investment opportunities. More information can be found here
  • There are a number of British companies participating in Livestock Myanmar 2014, including; Evans Vanodine Ltd, Montbelliarde Marketing, JSR Genetics, Perendale Publishers and the British Pig Association.
  • The UK has pioneered new approaches to sustainable farming practices. The UK exported £18 billion of food, feed and drink in 2012 and 3.8 million people are employed in the food supply chain, including agriculture and fishing.
  • UK exports to Burma are increasing quickly. Exports of goods from the UK to Burma January – August 2013 were up 87% on the same period in 2012.
  • The UK has strongly emphasised the need for any investment in Burma to be done responsibly and urges all UK companies entering Burma to promote the highest standards of corporate governance and social and environmental responsibility. To support a responsible business environment in Burma and provide practical advice on human rights and corporate social responsibility, the UK is providing £600,000 for the establishment of a Responsible Investment Resource Centre in Rangoon, to be led by the Institute for Human Rights and Business.
  • UKTI opened its office in July 2012, based at the British Embassy. The UK was the first European country to open a trade promotion office.

Further information

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage.

For more information on UKTI, visit or visit the online newsroom at

Published 20 January 2014