CESD has organized four workshops across Myanmar to solicit discussion and debate between stakeholders on the status of food and agriculture in Myanmar, especially food security, nutrition, land, and livelihoods. The workshops are part of an ongoing nation-wide dialogue on inadequacies and opportunities in Myanmar’s food and agriculture industry. The four workshops have served a multi-tiered role addressing policy shortcomings at the national and state levels, as well as coordinating public and private sector coordination to improve key agriculture sectors. These workshops signal a multilateral effort by the national and regional governments to lead an inter-ministerial dialogue on food security, nutrition, land and livelihoods across Myanmar, involving representatives from multiple levels of the value chain, as well as International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOS) and research organizations such as the Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD). Funded by the European Union (EU), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation (MoALI), the workshops address critical topics for including Myanmar’s nutrition security, food security, production, value-added production, and land security.
The most recent workshop in Bago focused on Myanmar’s beans and pulses sector; Myanmar’s largest agricultural export. Lectures and moderated discussions between worker representatives and officials from MoALI focused on improving the livelihoods of small producers and decreasing risk in the sector. The workshop found several potential changes to the sector, including simplifying land ownership and increasing value-added processing. Clear land ownership is crucial to decreasing risk and increasing producers’ access to financial products such as contract farming.
The workshop in Bago touched on value-added processing as a way to increase value in the agrifood value chain, specifically touching on the beans and pulses value chain. Improving technology in processing facilities as well as quality standards would allow for farmers and exporters to export a more valuable product, leading to more income at all levels of the value chain. In turn, exports could be diversified to a plethora of markets, providing more security against demand shocks. The workshop in Mon focused on the region’s large rubber industry, and the workshop in Nay Pyi Taw will focus on the land tenancy process and the potential simplification of land ownership.
Overall, the workshop was a great success in coordinating potential policy changes that would positively impact the well-being of Myanmar’s citizens.