Seed insufficiency in Rakhine State to be solved

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  • Rakhine State is facing a discrepancy between demand and supply of paddy seeds and it means we should take quick action to produce quality paddy seeds in the state.
    There are about 1.2 million acres of land where rice can be grown in the state. But, the shortage of quality seeds has hit the farmers.
    To narrow the gap, the Rakhine State has conducted training programs to produce seeds for its staff this year, in addition to disseminating knowledge to staff and farmers.
    Currently, about 100 trainees from townships in Rakhine State are participating in the training to produce quality paddy seeds in the state.
    The Department of Agriculture has been producing quality seeds, including paddy, in its research gardens. But, demand is higher than supply.
    The agriculture department has encouraged the private sector to go into seed production, in particular, paddy.
    Agriculture is listed in ten prioritized sectors by Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).
    However, the farming industry still absorbs less than one per cent of the total foreign direct investment, according to U Than Aung Kyaw, deputy director-general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, as the agriculture investments are usually seen as long-term investments.
    The new Myanmar Investment Law allows up to 80 % of foreign investment in the agriculture sector.
    Also, foreigners have the opportunity to invest 100 per cent in seed production. However, the sector has seen no significant progress, so far.
    The sector sees a relatively-low FDI influx as it is a long-term investment and is directly associated with the climate.
    There may be some risks for investors to make investments in the farming sector. It is still difficult to implement a crop insurance system in Myanmar. Land ownership also remains an important issue. This is why investment in the agriculture sector is relatively low compared with the non-agriculture sector.
    Currently, some private companies have begun seed production operations in partnership with farmers, with technical and financial support of the agriculture department.
    Development of the seed production industry is very important. But the industry requires technical experts and enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Companies have to be more responsible and be able to guarantee their seeds grow into crops. Therefore, post-harvest technologies are crucial in the seed-production industry.
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