Help­ing Myan­mar’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor

Mizzima Business Weekly - - AFFAIRS // INTERVIEW -

Drip ir­ri­ga­tion and wa­ter preser­va­tion tech­nolo­gies could prove im­mensely use­ful for Myan­mar. This is the mes­sage from Is­raeli wa­ter re­source man­age­ment ex­pert Mr Nir Atz­mon, PhD. Is­rael regularly holds a con­fer­ence on wa­ter tech­nolo­gies and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­trols that draws del­e­gates from around the world, in­clud­ing Myan­mar. The 8th In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion and the 5th In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Wa­ter Tech­nolo­gies and En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­trol – or WATEC – will be held in Tel Aviv, Is­rael on Oc­to­ber 13-15.

Mizzima TV re­cently in­ter­viewed Is­raeli rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mr Atz­mon PhD to dis­cuss the on­go­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Is­rael and Myan­mar over wa­ter re­source man­age­ment. Nir is presently based in Cam­bo­dia where he pro­vides con­sult­ing ser­vices for dif­fer­ent agri­cul­tural and forestry crops. Un­til re­cently he also held the po­si­tion of the Gen­eral Man­ager of Field Op­er­a­tion in CamA­gra In­vest­ment Group, Cam­bo­dia. He was man­ag­ing Aca­cia Plan­ta­tions on 8000 hectares of con­ces­sion land. Pre­vi­ously, he served as se­nior re­searcher in the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, ARO (Agri­cul­tural Re­search Or­ga­ni­za­tion), The Vol­cani Cen­ter, Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Bet-Da­gan, Is­rael. He has been en­gaged in forestry re­search and agron­omy projects both in Is­rael and in­ter­na­tion­ally since 1991.

In the fol­low­ing in­ter­view, Mr Atz­mon dis­cusses the po­ten­tial for ex­pand­ing co­op­er­a­tion with Myan-

mar, and seek­ing to help the coun­try’s “dry re­gions.”

What are the present sta­tus of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Is­rael and Myan­mar specif­i­cally in the ar­eas of agri­cul­ture as well as wa­ter man­age­ment? How many Myan­mar stu­dents and trainees are cur­rently be­ing trained in Is­rael and what are they learn­ing in Is­rael?

The co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Is­rael and Myan­mar is cur­rently mainly be­tween Is­rael’s pri­vate sec­tor and Myan­mar’s pri­vate sec­tor. They have been work­ing with each other for many years, yet the vol­ume is low due to sev­eral rea­sons both in the fields of wa­ter man­age­ment and agri­cul­ture. Need­less to say, the po­ten­tial for col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween com­pa­nies from both coun­tries is still huge and not be­ing ful­filled.

If you are look­ing at the public sec­tor, Is­rael’s Na­tional Com­pany, Meko­rot, has been in touch with the Myan­mar gov­ern­ment and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for sev­eral years now. The Chief Min­is­ters of both Yan­gon and Man­dalay par­tic­i­pated in Is­rael’s largest Wa­ter expo (WATEC) in 2013, where Yan­gon’s Chief Min­is­ter was also speak­ing at Meko­rot’s event. Un­for­tu­nately, we still haven’t been able to col­lab­o­rate on a more deeper level and in­crease the co­op­er­a­tion in wa­ter man­age­ment and tech­nolo­gies as well as the knowl­edge trans­fer be­tween the coun­tries’ public sec­tors.

Re­gard­ing Myan­mar stu­dents, 265 Myan­mar stu­dents have just fin­ish­ing a one year stay in Is­rael, which in­cluded one day study­ing and a few days of field’s work a week, on var­i­ous mod­ern agro tech­nolo­gies, i.e. ir­ri­ga­tion, botanic, live­stock, agro-safety, post

Mr Nir Atz­mon dis­cusses Is­rael-Myan­mar co­op­er­a­tion. Photo: Mizzima

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