Agri­cul­ture hopes for full value chain pol­icy

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SU PHYO WIN su­phy­owin@mm­times.com

The agri­cul­ture in­dus­try is hop­ing farm­ers gain bet­ter ac­cess to fi­nance and traders get eas­ier ship­ping of ex­ports next month.

THE govern­ment’s plan for driv­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is set to be un­veiled in greater de­tail at a sum­mit in Nay Pyi Taw at the end of the month, where of­fi­cials will garner pol­icy in­put from var­i­ous in­dus­try lead­ers.

When it comes to the agricultural sec­tor, farm­ers and in­dus­try in­sid­ers say they ex­pect the pol­icy to cover all as­pects of the value chain.

Free­dom of Farm­ers League pres­i­dent U Thein Aung said most in the agricultural sec­tor are hop­ing the new poli­cies will set a mean­ing­ful course for de­vel­op­ing cap­i­tal fi­nanc­ing and in­fra­struc­ture, and will seek greater ac­cess to foreign mar­kets.

“If the poli­cies do not seek to open up mar­kets it can make it harder for farm­ers to be in­volved in the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth,” he said. “At the same time, the pol­icy [could help] farm­ers make direct con­nec­tions with in­vestors and mar­kets.”

For farm­ers, hopes are high – as are the stakes.

“Un­der the pre­vi­ous govern­ment, the pol­icy re­mained un­changed,” he said. “I [hope] this govern­ment’s eco­nomic poli­cies work out or it will be like pre­vi­ous years where farm­ers are al­ways in­debted,” he said.

Many in the busi­ness com­mu­nity had ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment with the re­lease of a mid-year eco­nomic pol­icy out­line, say­ing it lacked spe­cific de­tails.

The July re­lease of a 12-point pol­icy out­line in­cluded plans to sup­port com­pe­ti­tion and build a stronger pri­vate sec­tor, im­prove pub­lic fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, tackle smug­gling, pro­vide more credit for farm­ers, pro­mote foreign direct in­vest­ment and re­form state-owned en­ter­prises.

The NLD’s eco­nomic com­mit­tee con­firmed last week that the event planned for Oc­to­ber 22 would pro­vide greater clar­ity on the 12-point plan, par­tic­u­larly in the area of foreign in­vest­ment. But the fi­nance and plan­ning min­istry said the event would not un­veil in full de­tail the fi­nal eco­nomic pol­icy.

U Maung Maung Lay, a vice pres­i­dent at the Union of Myan­mar Fed­er­a­tion of Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try, pre­vi­ously told The Myan­mar Times that se­nior UMFCCI rep­re­sen­ta­tives would be among those at­tend­ing.

Op­ti­mism over the US lift­ing of sanc­tions has been tem­pered by con­cerns that cru­cial eco­nomic is­sues must be ad­dressed by a govern­ment pol­icy in or­der for mean­ing­ful de­vel­op­ment to take place.

“We’ll dis­cuss the griev­ances and chal­lenges [of the busi­ness sec­tor],” U Maung Maung Lay said.

Pro­cesses and strate­gies de­vel­oped by the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Live­stock and Fish­eries were sub­mit­ted to the Min­istry of Plan­ning and Fi­nance in Septem­ber.

Deputy secretary at the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Live­stock and Fish­eries U Myo Tint Htun said it was de­vel­oped in con­sul­ta­tion with sources in var­i­ous de­part­ments and min­istries.

‘[We need to] make things eas­ier for get­ting cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and quar­an­tine for ex­port prod­ucts.’ U Myo Tint Htun Agri­cul­ture min­istry

They fo­cused on fi­nanc­ing, in­fra­struc­ture, milling, and pro­cess­ing for ease of sales and ex­port, U Myo Tint Htun said.

“[We need] to have qual­ity con­trol af­ter har­vest­ing, and adap­tive cul­ti­va­tion sys­tems for cli­mate change, and make things eas­ier for get­ting cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and quar­an­tine for ex­port prod­ucts,” he said.

It will take time to pre­pare a le­gal frame­work for foreign and lo­cal in­vestors, U Myo Tint Htun con­ceded. How­ever, he hoped that the new pol­icy would have the way to­ward a value-added agro-based econ­omy.

“The de­tails are con­sid­ered in con­text of the min­istry’s bud­get and the needs of stake­hold­ers through­out the whole sup­ply chain,” he said.

Photo: Staff

Farm­ers cut rice stalks in a field.

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