The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is to provide $18.7 million to finance an agricultural project in Myanmar, the United Nation’s specialised agency said.
The project aims to reduce poverty and help Myanmar 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 Naypyitaw region, located in the central dry zone.
IFAD is providing $18.7 million to finance the Fostering Agricultural Revitalization in Myanmar Project, which will cost an estimated $27.8 million.
The financing agreement was signed last week 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 modernise 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.
“With this first investment project together, we aim to promote food security and inclusive growth by revitalising the agricultural sector in Myanmar,” Mordasini said at the signing ceremony.
The project will develop a sustainable model for smallholder agriculture and rural development for Myanmar’s central dry zone. If successful, the model will 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 said IFAD aims to “rapidly increase” its engagement in Myanmar in the future.