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Sharing knowledge and ideas to promote rural development: LIFT forum

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Some of the research findings from CESD and Michigan State University’s work in Myanmar’s agrifood sector were shared at the annual LIFT forum, held in Nay Pyi Taw on 25-26 November 2014.

Opening of the LIFT Annual Forum, November 2014 (Photo: http://www.LIFT-fund.org)

In the opening keynote address, Professor Thomas Reardon, Chief of Party for Michigan State University’s Food Security Policy Project, spoke of some of the findings of research into agrifood value chains and livelihoods, which had been undertaken in partnership with CESD over the preceding 12 months.

Professor Reardon said that rural incomes in Myanmar were improving, despite the fact that half of Myanmar’s population was living under the poverty line, half the rural people were landless, and the country had experienced 50 years of very low economic growth rate.

Professor Reardon stated that:

“With [the Michigan State University’s] partner team of talented Myanmar researchers at Myanmar Development Resource Institute, Center for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD), we have traveled to the south, the north, the east, and the west of Myanmar … We have found many signs and indications of an emerging Quiet Revolution in the agrifood sector. We now have an image of a country filled with many rural entrepreneurs, on farms and off-farms, eager to succeed, to respond to the new market incentives, to vote with their feet and their kyat.”

A copy of Professor Reardon’s keynote address can be downloaded here > (PDF; English language; 2 pages; 180Kb).

CESD Executive Director, Dr Zaw Oo, also presented at the forum, as one of three panelists discussing “Building a knowledge platform for agriculture and rural development in Myanmar”. You can watch the panel discussion (in English) on YouTube (36 minutes).

The Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) forum was jointly organised by LIFT and the Government of Myanmar Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development. It was attended by over 300 representatives from across the rural sector, including representatives from the government, non-government organisations, inter-government organisations, national and international rural development specialists and aid agencies.

The LIFT program of work in Myanmar targets small-holder farming families and the landless rural poor, funding projects that help them to raise their incomes, improve their nutrition and food security, and live better lives. LIFT’s projects provide opportunities for sustainable growth, for quality harvests, improved and innovative access to credit and markets, while bolstering people’s ability to cope with setbacks and change. Further information on LIFT is available on their website, www.lift-fund.org.