Agriculture hopes for full value chain policy
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.
Farmers cut rice stalks in a field.