A Strategic Agricultural Sector and Food Security Diagnostic for Myanmar

Type Book
Title A Strategic Agricultural Sector and Food Security Diagnostic for Myanmar
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Publisher USAID
URL http://fsg.afre.msu.edu/Myanmar/myanmar_agricultural_sector_and_food_security_diagnostic_report._rev​.pdf
Despite its enormous potential, Myanmar’s agriculture has underperformed over the past fifty
years. Today, per capita earnings in agriculture average roughly $20 a year, one-half to onethird
of the levels achieved by its regional pers. Given that two-thirds of the population works
primarily in agriculture, low farm productivity translates into high rates of poverty and fod
insecurity. Curently, about one quarter of the population fals below the national poverty line.
As a result, in spite of national rice self-suficiency, fod security for many households and
individuals remains elusive. Por households spend over 70% of their income on fod. In
aditon, fuly one-third of rural households borow at some point during the year in order to
purchase fod. Even after shouldering this heavy financial burden, up to one-half of rural
households report having to navigate two months each year without adequate fod suplies, leaving one-third of the country’s children stunted. Why has Myanmar’s agricultural sector performed so porly? As in other sectors of the
economy, ongoing ethnic civil war and violence over the past 60 years, coupled with
international isolation, have discouraged private investments and hindered the exchange of
technology and know-how. Within the agricultural sector, a series of instiutional, policy and
structural constraints has hampered agricultural growth and contributed to Myanmar’s curent
high rates of hunger and malnutriton. The most critcal of these problems include:
• a highly skewed land distribution, which leaves roughly half of rural households landles,
• por water control systems in the presence of global climate change and increasingly
unpredictable rainfal,
• a high-cost ransportation system,
• weak rural financial instiutions,
• unpredictable government policies,
• low public investments in agricultural research, and
• weak links betwen extension services and farmers.
Fortunately for the two-thirds of Myanmar citzens who work in agriculture, al of these
impediments can be remedied through god policies, instiutional reforms and key public

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