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Report: Strategic agriculture and food security diagnostic

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Despite its enormous potential, Myanmar’s agriculture has under-performed over the past fifty years.

In 2013, per capita earnings in agriculture average roughly $200 a year, one-half to one-third of the levels achieved by Myanmar’s regional peers. Given that two-thirds of the population works primarily in agriculture, low farm productivity translates into high rates of poverty and food insecurity. In 2013, about one quarter of the population falls below the national poverty line. As a result, in spite of national rice self-sufficiency, food security for many households and individuals remains elusive. Poor households spend over 70% of their income on food. In addition, one-third of rural households borrow at some point during the year in order to purchase food. Even after shouldering this heavy financial burden, up to one-half of rural households report having to navigate two months each year without adequate food supplies, leaving one-third of the country’s children stunted.

The discussion in this report provides options for improving agricultural performance under different long term and short term scenarios.

The diagnostic review was undertaken by a team of 13, with team members having expertise in a broad range of agricultural disciplines, both within Myanmar and from overseas. The review included three weeks of field interviews in the Delta, Dry Zone and Shan State, broadly consulting with farmers, government officials, traders, agribusiness operators and non-governmental organisations.

Six background papers were also produced by the review team, as follows:

  1. Myanmar bio-physical characterization
  2. Rice productivity improvement in Myanmar
  3. Rural finance in Myanmar
  4. Food and Nutrition Security in Myanmar
  5. Current situation and future opportunities in agricultural education, research and extension
  6. Rapid value chain assessment: structure and dynamics of the rice value chain in Myanmar

Publication name: A strategic agricultural sector and food security diagnostic

Author(s): Michigan State University (MSU) and MDRI-CESD (team leader Steven Haggblade)

Supported by: USAID

Publication date: July 2013

Language(s): English

Download the report from the following link(s):