January 23, 2021
In 2020, the potential for agriculture in Myanmar is well established. By its size (25%-40% of GDP, 70% of population) but also by its numerous competitive advantages (e.g. proximity to major economic markets, abundance of land, water, etc.) the sector is full of economic & development promises for Myanmar.
Besides, 2020 saw remarkable achievements for agriculture in the country, including but not limited to the design of an ambitious ‘Myanmar Economic Recovery & Reform Plan’, the modernization of the Government’s interface with businesses (e.g. Automatic Registration Pilot for Inputs) or an important loan from the World Bank to modernize the sector). However, some issues remain in the implementation of effective measures boosting the development of the sector and setting better agricultural practices while new unprecedented cross-sectoral challenges have arisen.
As estimated by a recent ILO study, COVID-19 upended the livelihoods of nearly 3.5 million women and men of the agricultural sector through job depletion, reduced wage and staggered working hours. The COVID-19 pandemic has also placed unprecedented stresses on food supply chains and disrupted export of agricultural commodities and crops. Yet, agricultural supply chains have demonstrated remarkable resilience in delivering goods to respond to increased consumer demands all over the world. Adopting responsible agricultural practices could ensure that supply chain resilience is not at the expense of workers and the environment.
Hence, EuroCham Myanmar, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) would like to build on the success of the Agrobusiness Forum of December 2019 to welcome all stakeholders engaged in promoting and enabling responsible practices in the agricultural sector in Myanmar.
In doing so, the aim is to prolong the multi-stakeholder dialogue between the Government of Myanmar, the development agencies, businesses, and other relevant key stakeholders not only to identify short-term practical solutions and best-practices to respond to the current health and economic context but also to tackle long-term issues preventing the full realization of Myanmar’s agricultural potential.