Myanmar Steps up Contract Farming

MYANMAR - The development of a contract farming zone in the suburban township of Yangon division is being stepped up, supported by private entrepreneurs. Almost one-third of farms there keep poultry.
calendar icon 6 October 2008
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According to Chinese sources, a state-backed Myanmar newspaper describes the Yangon division special integrated farming zone, set up in Nyaunghnapin village, Hmawby township, as made up of some sub-zones where undertakings including the raising of poultry, growing of beans and pulses, and physic nuts as well as fish breeding, are carried out.

Of the 2,708-hectare Yangon division special integrated farming zone, 50.3 per cent have been put under kitchen crops, beans and pulses, and physic nuts, while 30 per cent accommodate poultry farming where over 300,000 chickens including layers and broilers are raised, the report said.

The rest of the area goes to special fish farming where 364,000 fish of various species are bred in 51 breeding ponds, the report added.

A previous local report said 10 private entrepreneurs had taken part in the project and the system was being introduced into other states and divisions if found applicable. Foreign technical know-how on agricultural production will be obtained.

Another special agricultural zone is to be set up in Dagon Myothit, one of the several satellite towns in Yangon division.

Private companies are being encouraged by the government to take part in the regional project.

Since rice is one of the country's main agricultural crops, Myanmar has also planned to expand cultivation of paddy in the present fiscal year of 2008-09, projecting to grow 8.26 million hectares in the year to yield 31.59 million tons of rice to meet the demand of a population of 56.5 million.

The country's per-capita rice consumption stands at 510 kilograms (kg) per year for rural people and 408kg for urban people. The annual consumption of rice by the entire country people reached over 17 million tons.

According to official statistics, in the fiscal year of 2007-08 which ended in March, Myanmar grew 8.1 million hectares of paddy, generating 30.02 million tons of rice.

Meanwhile, the country's agricultural exports amounted to $1.14 billion in 2007-08, up 22.5 per cent from 2006-07.

The country's foreign trade volume in the 2007-08 fiscal year totaled $8.851 billion, of which the exports took $6.043 billion with farm produce contributing 18.8 per cent of the total.

With over 70 per cent of Myanmar's population being engaged in agricultural undertakings, the sector represents the mainstay of the country's economy, contributing 50.1 per cent to the national economy and achieving an average annual growth rate of 9.8 per cent during the past five years, the report concludes.

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