IFAD joins hands with the Government of Myanmar to reduce poverty and increase food security in Myanmar’s central dry zone
Rome, 22 October 2014 – The Fostering Agricultural Rehabilitation in Myanmar (FARM) project became officially effective today. The project supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will reduce poverty and help the country to increase food security and re-establish itself as a major agricultural producer and exporter in the region. The project will benefit 183,400 vulnerable women and men in Myanmar’s Nay Pyi Taw region, located in the central dry zone.
IFAD is providing US$18.7 million to finance the Fostering Agricultural Revitalization in Myanmar Project. The total project cost is $27.8 million. The financing agreement was signed today at IFAD headquarters in Rome by U Myint Naung, Ambassador designate for Myanmar in Italy, and Michel Mordasini, Vice-President of IFAD.
Emerging from 50 years of isolation, Myanmar is working with IFAD to modernize financing of agricultural operations and address the urban-rural divide. Though the agriculture sector is the backbone of the country’s economy and, on average, produces a surplus of food each year, many rural areas still suffer from chronic and acute food insecurity.
“Today marks a historic moment for IFAD as we join hands with the Government of Myanmar to put poverty reduction and rural development at the top of the country’s development agenda,” said Mordasini at the signing ceremony. “With this first investment project together, we aim to promote food security and inclusive growth by revitalizing the agricultural sector in Myanmar.”
The project will develop a sustainable model for smallholder agriculture and rural development for Myanmar’s central dry zone. If successful, the model can be used in the country on a larger scale. Myanmar, one of the poorest nations in Asia, has embarked on a path of political and economic reforms to reduce poverty and food insecurity, foster economic growth, and to promote inclusive social development.
Since 2012, IFAD has invested a total of $19.5 million in two grants and one project in Myanmar, with a total cost of $28.6 million, including co-financing. Mordasini added that “IFAD aims to rapidly increase its engagement in Myanmar in the future”.