World Bank to help poor farmers’ crop yields

The World Bank hopes its programme will help improve farmers' lives. Photo: Mizzima

The World Bank hopes its programme will help improve farmers' lives. Photo: Mizzima

The World Bank Group’s board of executive directors have approved a US$100 million [K100 billion] credit to the Myanmar government for the Agriculture Support Project, which will help increase productivity and create jobs by helping to make farming more resilient to drought and climate change in some of the country’s poorest areas, according to a press release issued April 23.

The World Bank says farmers have limited access to water, with many existing irrigation schemes in disrepair, and they do not have access to modern technology and farming services. As a consequence, agricultural areas have some of the country’s highest poverty rates. Increasing incomes and job growth among Myanmar’s rural farmers will require investments in irrigation and farming practices, the press release says.

“Improving irrigation will increase farm productivity, allow planting during the dry season, and increase incomes of farming families,” said Mr Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Myanmar. “The World Bank is pleased to support this project to help improve farming families’ lives and reduce poverty.”

The project will benefit some of the country’s most vulnerable people, including 120,000 farm households dependent on irrigation systems in the regions of Bago East, Sagaing, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw, home to over one-third of the country’s poor.

“This project will target agricultural activities, which can have the biggest impact on the country’s economy and on improving the lives of people in rural areas,” said U Myint Hlaing, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation.“The Agricultural Development Support Project will assist Myanmar’s government to increase the productivity and profitability of farming, while helping farmers improve water and land management and employ climate-smart farming practices.”

Farm households will benefit from greater incomes and harvests through better crop irrigation and drainage. Farm advisory and technical services will also be provided, including recommendations for improving crop diversity, better farming techniques and vocational training for rural workers. The project will also provide contingency funds in the case of emergencies, the World Bank says.

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