Myanmar making efforts to promote development of agricultural sector, with long-, short-term plans being implemented for transformation of conventional farming into mechanized farming across country

YANGON, China , March 4, 2013 () – Myanmar is making efforts to promote the development of agricultural sector with long- and short-term plans being implemented for transformation of conventional farming into mechanized farming across the country.

Special emphasis is being placed to improve living standard of farmers and boost agricultural development.

On the occasion of Saturday's Peasants Day, Myanmar President U Thein Sein, in his message, cited the private sector's active participation in the production of high yield and marketable quality of all crops.

He called on the government to increase agricultural loan to address the peasants' need of the injection of capital in the sector.

The president encouraged farm enterprises to shift from export of raw agricultural produce to quality product by establishing advanced rice mills, oil mills, refineries and packaging facilities.

He also emphasized the needs to catch up with neighboring agro- based economies through five ways, namely enthusiasm, mindset change, land reform, mechanization and using high-yield strains.

He also called on farmers to boost production for food sufficiency as Myanmar's population is expected to reach about 100 million in next 30 years.

He further underlined the need of higher education for new generation of the farmers.

Meanwhile, Myanmar government and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have signed a five-year Country Program Framework Agreement (2012-16) in February to implement three of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The program will be carried out by the FAO and three Myanmar ministries -- Agriculture and Irrigation, Livestock Fisheries, and Forestry to assist the MDGs No. 1, 7 and 8.

Myanmar is also cooperating with the international organizations for the development of agriculture which includes building an agricultural research institution at the University of Agriculture in Yezin in Nay Pyi Taw with the assistance of India.

Upon completion of the institution, India is to send experts to conduct training on academic and research works and the institution will admit graduates from Yezin University of Agriculture for pursuing further studies.

To promote the agricultural development, India has also extended an aid of 10 million U.S. dollars' farming equipment to Myanmar.

In addition, Myanmar is cooperating with two agricultural firms from Thailand and the Philippines in terms of production technique in a bid to produce quality paddy seeds and rice.

The Thai firm will export 1.8 million tons of rice per year, while the Philippines, which is engaged in research, development and production of superior hybrid rice, will export 500,000 tons of rice annually.

Myanmar is also bringing in Japanese technology from the Mizuho Financial Group Inc of Japan to push for agricultural development.

In an effort to boost trade with Myanmar, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has launched a new business support center in Yangon. Companies from South Korea and Vietnam are also planning to make investment in Myanmar.

MITSUI & Co., Ltd. from Japan and Vina Capital from Vietnam have signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) with Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation Limited (MAPCO) for agricultural cooperation.

MAPCO will set up the Integrated Food and Energy Production factories in Yangon, Ayeyawady and Bago regions as well as Nay Phi Taw.

An Integrated Food and Energy Production Complex factory will be built in Yangon region, which would be jointly constructed by MITSUI & Co., Ltd and MAPCO.

The Japanese company is planning arrangements to establish advanced rice grinding and purifying mills.

As of the end of 2012, foreign investment in Myanmar's agricultural sector totaled 182.75 million U.S. dollars in nine projects, accounting for only 0.44 percent of the total since the country opened to such investment in late 1988.

Myanmar exported 610,500 tons of rice, gaining nearly 212.2 million U.S. dollars in 2012, a drop from 789,100 tons and 307 million dollars in 2011, according to the government's statistics.

(c) 2013 Xinhua News Agency

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