Myanmar community forestry best practices cited at ASEAN conference


Protecting community forests. Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP

The best practices of the Myanmar’s community forestry-based enterprises were cited by a Ministry of Industry (MOI) at the recently concluded 7th ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) Conference held in Chiang Mai, Thailand. ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Dr. Phyu Phyu Win, Assistant Director of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Policy and International Affairs at MOI,  shared Myanmar’s experiences and insights in her paper presentation titled “Promoting Productivity, Technology, and Innovation: Examples of Successful Community Forestry-based Enterprises in Myanmar.”

Dr. Win’s participation in the conference was funded by the Philippines-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) through its travel grants facility. Headed by Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., SEARCA strengthens institutional capacities toward inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) in Southeast Asia through its core programs on graduate education, research and development and knowledge management.

Speaking before some 200 participants from ASEAN Member States (AMS), Dr. Win gave an overview of the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSME (ACCMSME) and the vision of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development 2016-2025 (SAP-SMED) to have globally competitive and innovative SMEs.

She also underscored the potential of social forestry (SF) as a mechanism to realize the goals and targets of SAP-SMED.

According to Dr. Win, Myanmar’s best practices revolved around four key activities, namely: nationwide greening of dry zones and forest landscape restoration, promotion of biodiversity, mangrove rehabilitation and coastal management, and reform strategy to boost private sector investments in social forestry/community forestry.

Examples of Myanmar's successful community forestry initiatives included innovations in value-adding for traditional products like Thanaka, bamboo, palm and toddy, coconut, plum and tamarind, and organic tea.

Dr. Win also facilitated the session "Integrating Social Forestry/Community Forestry Enterprises in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Plan of ASEAN: Pathway to Achieving Success." She highlighted and commended AWG-SF for initiating cross-sectoral collaboration with different ASEAN groups, particularly with ACCMSME.

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