Investment, technical assistance key to Myanmar’s sustainable agricultural development

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  • Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy for many of us. It further contributes to regional sustainable development in terms of food security and nutrition.
    One of the daunting challenges of the world is to ensure food and nutrition security for the rapidly growing population, which is estimated to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. There is no exception for BIMSTEC region which is home to 22 % of the global population.
    While appreciating the excellent work done by the BIMSTEC Expert Group Meeting on Agriculture recently, President U Win Myint has informed the member countries that Myanmar, as a Lead Country of the Agriculture sector, will host the first BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture in Myanmar in 2018/2019 to address the emerging challenges and further enhancement of the cooperation.
    Agriculture is an area where Myanmar has a significant comparative advantage, with abundant land and water resources. Myanmar’s highest export volume comes from the agricultural sector, but we need to have more cooperation with ASEAN and BIMSTEC member countries to remove modern farming technology and capital constraints.
    We hope that the coming ministerial meeting on agriculture would improve the prospects for agricultural growth of Myanmar.
    The meeting is expected to produce good outcomes for promoting investment not only in the agricultural sector but also in the livestock sector among member countries.
    Myanmar has placed emphasis on the development of agricultural interconnectivity since all member nations of BIMSTEC focus primarily on agriculture.
    We should not forget the fact that small farmers are playing a crucial role in ensuring sufficient food and nutritional supply, abolishing poverty, and promoting inclusive and sustainable agricultural development operations.
    To achieve the sustainable development goal in the agriculture sector, Myanmar is encouraging Public-private-partnership while assessing the strengths and weaknesses of rice and other crops, and making efforts for improving the agricultural technologies.
    Meanwhile, we are facing some challenges in transformation from traditional farming to mechanized farming. In addition, a shortage of farm labourers is another obstacle of the agricultural sector.
    There are several ways to solve that issue. Mechanized farming is one of the answers to overcome the manual labour shortage, which is a major problem in the country.
    Also, modern processing machinery and technologies are beyond our farmers’ means. There are many other obstacles, including lack of storage facilities.
    Attracting investment is high on the government’s list of priorities, but foreign direct investment in agriculture is still low.
    Hence, investment and technical assistance from the ASEAN and BIMSTEC member countries are invited to the agricultural sector. Now is the perfect time to bring your investment to Myanmar.
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