Yangon – 23/06/2016 - The new OECD report Multi-dimensional Review of Myanmar: From Analysis to Action details actions to transform agriculture in Myanmar into an engine for development and raise the living standard for millions of rural poor.
“Agriculture offers Myanmar a fantastic opportunity to return to its historic role as Southeast Asia’s rice bowl, exporting high-quality products to the billion-strong markets of China and India,’’ said Jan Rielaender, Head of the OECD Development Centre Multi-dimensional Country Reviews Unit, at the report’s launch today in Yangon.
With the country’s historic political transition, and universal agreement on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), Myanmar faces important opportunities to attract investment and focus on key sectors of the economy, such as the agriculture and agri-food sectors. Investing in more dynamic and productive activities in these sectors can stimulate the economy by helping Myanmar move up value chains and expand to non-agricultural sectors, says the report.
According to the report, Myanmar is far from making the most of its agricultural assets: 55% of farms are tiny plots, measuring less than 2 hectares. Basic infrastructure, investment and know-how are lacking to enable Myanmar to process higher-value goods for exports.
Focusing on agriculture and the agri-food industry has been a successful strategy for other countries in the past, such as Korea. Through targeted actions and focused investments and reforms, Myanmar too can set in motion the structural transformation necessary for its economy to flourish and its people to prosper.
The authors of the report also find that Myanmar’s assets need to be fully optimised to realise the country’s development potential. Empowering people with skills, knowledge, infrastructure and investment is equally essential.
Together with the OECD Development Centre, stakeholders in Myanmar defined six priority areas for agriculture to drive development:
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