Agriculture is an area where Myanmar has a significant comparative advantage, with abundant land and water resources. It is vital for these resources to be well-managed to ensure long-term sustainability of this sector, as well as to ensure the health and safety of the population.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation has encouraged farmers to use its good agricultural practices (GAP) protocol in cultivating staple and export crops in an effort to boost the farmers’ livelihood and develop Myanmar’s agriculture sector, which will contribute to economic growth.
It applies to the 15 crops that are the most consumed and exported: mango, pomelo, honeydew, watermelon, avocado, chili, tomato, onion, cabbage, maize, various types of beans, sesame, peanut, rice and coffee.
Myanmar’s agricultural sector is a key pillar of the economy and provides employment to about 53 per cent of the labour force. Additionally, it is a source of livelihood for about 70 per cent of the rural population. The guidelines will support the government’s objective of increasing productivity, market access and competitiveness of the agricultural sector by improving the provision of quality inputs to farmers. Additionally, it will help lead to solutions for improved sustainable agricultural practices.
To achieve the goal of GAP at the national level, there are requirements for fully practicing the guidelines nationwide. On the government side, trainings should be conducted for the employees of the agricultural department. The government agricultural department is facing financial constraints to upgrade technical equipment.
For the GAP guidelines, the measures to be taken by government agricultural experts include inspecting the soil and water samples of the arable lands of applicants.
The farmers and enterprises which will practice the GAP guidelines are to attend the GAP procedure course and pesticide usage course.
Officials will make field trips to the GAP holders’ farms to check cultivation of crops in line with the prescribed rules and regulations and production process at the packaging houses.
The GAP guidelines launched in Myanmar last year and the GAP programme in Inle Lake, Shan State, which involves over 300 tomato farmers and may affect over 150,000 people who depend on the lake for their livelihood, met with success.
Floating tomato cultivators in Inle Lake, are happy with the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) system.
Providing GAP technology assistance and conducting demonstration sessions on the use of biopesticides for 50 acres of land from five villages was conducted.
Previously, local cultivators from the Inle Lake region used chemical fertilizers and pesticides for their farming. Now, the floating tomato cultivators are using the GAP system, which can reduce the cost of growing tomatoes. The Inle cultivators usually plant tomatoes annually during the monsoon and winter seasons. Growing tomatoes using the GAP system is useful for both local cultivators and consumers.
The objective of the guidelines is to boost the productivity and profitability of farmers through sustainable farming by producing safe and quality products for the local and international markets.
Because of the many challenges, we should proceed to our goal step by step, rather than changing all at once at all levels.