U.S. Supports Rural Farming Communities in Myanmar

27 September 2019
U.S. Supports Rural Farming Communities in Myanmar
Photo: U.S. Embassy Rangoon/Facebook

How will Myanmar farmers and their families benefit from the dramatic changes taking place in Myanmar’s rural economy? This was the central question at a day-long workshop that brought together American and Myanmar researchers and Government of Myanmar policy makers and agricultural program implementers, according to a press release.

U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel opened the day-long workshop in Yangon on September 26.  He said, “The United States is committed to supporting Myanmar’s economic transformation and democratic transition.  For Myanmar, that means working to help transform the agricultural sector, a source of livelihood for more than seventy percent of rural households.”  Faculty of Michigan State University facilitated four panel discussions about the findings from the Food Security Policy Project, a five-year investment co-financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT). 

Participants reviewed findings from surveys of close to 8000 rural households, 800 communities, and more than 1150 enterprises in agricultural value chains in eight states and regions, including Mon, the Delta, the Dry Zone, and Shan.  Panelists encouraged government policy makers to understand how farmers can benefit from changes such as the maize boom in Shan State, the rise of aquaculture in the Delta, changes affecting communities working with oilseed and pulses in the Dry Zone, and the recent surge in mechanization in agriculture.  They discussed farmers’ needs to access and utilize land, seed and credit, the changing rural economy, migration, and the need to consider gender issues in policies and programs. 

Since it was launched in 2014, the Food Security Policy Project research results have been used to inform development partner and government investment plans, including the Agricultural Development Strategy launched by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation in June 2018.  The project has also provided training for researchers at the Ministry, Yezin Agricultural University, the Center for Economic and Social Development, and other civil society organizations in applied policy research methods to help farmers benefit from Myanmar's economic transformation. 

When the USAID Food Security Policy Project completes its work at the end of September 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation will scale-up its research efforts with