strategic for future agriculture in Myanmar

Topics: Agriculture, Poverty, Agricultural economics Pages: 19 (2696 words) Published: October 22, 2014

Strategic Choices for the Future of Agriculture in Myanmar:
A Summary Paper

prepared for USAID/Burma
by Michigan State University (MSU) and the
Myanmar Development Resource Institute’s Center for Economic and Social Development (MDRI/CESD)

July, 2013




Strategic Choices for the Future of Agriculture in Myanmar:
A Summary Paper1


This study was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Michigan State University and the Myanmar Development Resource Institute do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.  



Strategic Choices for the Future of Agriculture in Myanmar: A Summary Paper Prepared by MSU and MDRI/CESD

1. Introduction
The Government of Myanmar (GOM) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MOAI) face important decisions about the future direction of agriculture. Myanmar’s agricultural potential is enormous given the country’s resource endowments and favorable geographic location. As growing water scarcity constrains production around the globe, and particularly in neighboring China and India, Myanmar’s water resources will offer a significant agricultural competitive advantage. In addition, the country’s diverse topography and eco-systems enable farmers to produce a wide range of cereals, pulses, horticulture, fruits, livestock and fish. Combined with its strategic location between two enormous regional markets, in India and China, and easy access to buoyant markets in the Gulf, Myanmar’s farmers and agribusinesses find themselves well-positioned to succeed in regional and global agricultural markets. Thus, with rich natural resources (especially its major river systems), growing domestic and international markets, a stable exchange rate and strong interest from overseas investors, the future is potentially very bright.

Major challenges, internal and external, must be addressed to secure this future. As an aid to decision-making, by government and donors, this paper tackles three core tasks. First, it provides an assessment of the current performance of agriculture in Myanmar. Second, it conducts a diagnostic assessment of the opportunities and constraints faced by farmers and agribusiness that have hampered agricultural growth relative to its regional peers. Third, the paper identifies actions that will be necessary to realize the considerable potential of agriculture in Myanmar to bring prosperity to the largest possible number of its citizens, now and for future generations.

This paper summarizes a more detailed diagnostic report2 prepared by a team of 6 MDRI staff and 7 international experts in the areas of rice production systems, agribusiness, rural finance, food and nutrition security, agricultural education and research, and agricultural economics. To prepare the report the team interviewed government officials, farmers, traders, agribusiness operators, transporters, representatives of UMFCCI and traders’ associations, international donors and NGO staff, and visited more than 36 villages and over 24 markets in the Delta, Dry Zone and Shan State. The team also reviewed a large number of previous reports on agriculture in Myanmar, analyzed agricultural statistics and market information, and compared the historical performance of agriculture in Myanmar to other countries in ASEAN and South Asia.

 “A Strategic Agricultural Sector and Food Security Diagnostic for Myanmar”. Draft Report, February 2013. Michigan State University (MSU) and the Myanmar Development Resource Institute, Center for Economic and Social Development (MDRI/CESD). This study was made possible with support from the American people delivered through the U.S. Agency for International...

References: Deininger and Byerlee (2012), Haggblade, Hazell and Dorosh (2007), Lipton (2005), World Bank
Table 1. Annual Rates of Agricultural Growth in Myanmar, 1985/86 to 2009/10
security for the poor. Roughly one-fourth of the national population – and 29% of rural
households – falls below the national poverty line (IHLCA 2011)
70% of their income on food, and fully one-third of rural households borrow at some point
during the year to purchase food (IHLCS 2010, LIFT 2012)
efforts, up to half of rural households report inadequate food intake for over two months each
year (MICS 2011, LIFT 2012)
five, while malnutrition as measured by underweight affects similar numbers (MICS 2011).
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