By Nyein Nyein
More than 100,000 acres of monsoon paddy have been cultivated under the contract farming system this year, according to Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). The affiliated companies of MRF have been coordinating contract farming project. The system was earlier intended to reach 200,000 acres in monsoon season. At present, 100,483 acres of monsoon paddy out of 200,000 have been cultivated by 53 companies under the contract farming system in 49 townships across the country, MRF stated.
A total of 45,500 acres of monsoon paddy was earlier planned in Ayeyawady Region, but only 39,488 acres have been contracted. The system has already covered 49,402 out of earlier targeted 52,000 acres in Bago Region, 5,358 out of 21,000 acres in Yangon Region, 3,835 acres in 9,000 acres in Nay Pyi Taw and 400 out of 6,000 acres in Mandalay Region.
Besides, 11,000 acres in Rakhine State, 9,000 in Shan State, 6,000 in Mandalay, 6,500 in Mon State, 7,000 in Magway Region, 2,000 in Taninthayi Region, 3,000 in Kachin State, 2,000 in Kayah State and 3,000 in Kayin State have been planned to be contracted, the MRF stated.
According to the MRF, quality control and food safety are critical to the promotion of exports. Therefore, improved agricultural practices need to be developed. The country requires specific export plans for each agro product, as they are currently exported to external markets based upon supply and demand. Contract farming systems, including regional and state agriculture departments, exporters, traders and some grower groups, are required to meet production targets, said an official from the Agriculture Department. This farming system also aims to reduce the debt burden of farmers and to attract more investment to the sector, he highlighted.
In a bid to promote cooperation between farmers and companies involved in the value chain of the agricultural sector, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation released provisions for contract farming on 31 January 2020. Contract farming is a system whereby companies have to provide quality input and technical assistance. The contract system outlines nine provisions for farmers,10 for farming companies and 9 for the government. The ministry has posted the contract on its website (www.agri.com.mm) and has urged the two sides to study it thoroughly before going into business.
The contract farming system is part of the government’s efforts to encourage Private-Public Partnerships involving the government and the private sector. The strategies, directives, and procedures for contract farming are aimed at ensuring a substantial market for crops and quality crops. Under the contract farming system, farmers and companies can decide on the price and quality of crops before cultivation, which can help create a sustainable market. Farmers, on their part, would be responsible for growing crops using Good Agricultural Practices and producing crops that meet the quality, quantity, and standards set by both sides under the contract. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)