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Key Economic Priorities in Ag Outlined By Pa-O Leader

Myanmar : Pa-O region in southern Shan State will focus on modernizing its agricultural and livestock economy while prioritizing building hydropower stations and developing vocational schools as well as ecotourism.

In an exclusive interview, U Khun San Lwin, chair of the Pa-O leading body, outlined his government’s key economic priorities, which will form a core part of the upcoming development blueprint.

The Myanmar Institute for Integrated Development (MIID) and the DaNa Facility (DaNa) on January 15, signed a US$400,000 three-year grant agreement to improve the economic opportunities for 400 smallholder farmers in Pa-O. Both DaNa and this programme are funded by the UK Department for International Development.

Farming is the overarching sector in the region, with 80 percent of the population deriving their livelihoods from farming.

U Khun San Lwin sketched out six challenges for the region’s agriculture: lack of technology, low market demand, absence of necessary machineries due to high cost, natural disasters and reliance on rainwater for irrigation.

Farmers do not have to know-how to source high-quality seeds, cultivating the farmlands, managing microbes and maintaining fertile topsoil. Neither do they have access to post-harvest technology, such as storage tech or how to process harvested crops.

The lack of technology also hinders the farmers from undertaking value-added activities. Reforms could only move ahead with the manpower, investment and machineries.

The production cost, quality, and size of agricultural products are still not sufficiently competitive in the face of foreign imports. For example, Pa-O produces many tonnes of potatoes and onions, but those cannot compete with imports in terms of variety and quality.

Source: (Myanmar Times)

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