The World Bank will implement a project to upgrade Myanmar’s patchwork irrigation system, according to an official media report.
The $100-million project will begin next month in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, said the Global New Light of Myanmar.
Earlier this year, the World Bank gave $80 million in grants to the Myanmar National Community Development Project in Chin and Shan states as well as Tanintharyi region.
Rice is a major cash crop for Myanmar, exporting more than 1.2 million tonnes last fiscal year, earning approximately $460 million, according to Myanmar’s Central Statistical Organization.
However, price volatility is a major problem for Myanmar rice farmers, who have to contend with the most wildly fluctuating prices among Asian rice exporting countries, keeping many households in poverty, according to a newly-released World Bank report.
Rice prices rose by 40 percent between 2009 and 2013, straining Myanmar’s food security and export competitiveness, especially concerning in a country where over half of the population depends on agriculture. Rice makes up 70 percent of Myanmar’s total cultivated area and 30 percent of its agricultural output.
UN Millennium Development goals hope to reduce Myanmar’s poverty rates from 26 to 16 percent.