The move towards democratic governance has opened up new opportunities for Myanmar. Among them is an increasing role of non-government stakeholders, to contribute substantially to the country’s socio-economic development. In the agricultural sector, which is lagging behind its peers in many other countries of the Asia-Pacific region, it is now more important than ever for the public sector to join hands with non-government stakeholders to address critical gaps.
Opportunities for expanding successful technical and policy interventions towards achieving more rapid and sustainable development of the agriculture sector in Myanmar’s Dry Zone were highlighted at a dialogue here this week, participated by national and provincial policy makers, academics, civil society representatives, private sector experts and development practitioners.
In the opening remarks Mr. Khant Zaw, Director General, Department of Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MoALI) in his opening remarks stated that “Myanmar’s Dry Zone has peculiar local characteristics that require special interventions to face the challenges and to improve practices in sustainable agriculture. This dialogue seeks to make recommendations to senior levels of government to be incorporated in Myanmar’s policies”
Mr. Khant Zaw, Director General, Department of Rural Development,
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MoALI) delivered his opening remarks.
“Among the most important tasks to enable rapid agricultural development is to identify how we can transform localized, small-scale interventions by government and non-government stakeholders into large-scale, impactful outcomes which can produce tangible reductions in poverty and food insecurity. Only making provision of physical, financial and human resources will not be enough. To achieve broad-based and sustained impact, it is important to have multi-stakeholder knowledge networks which can enable effective exchange of knowledge not just in Myanmar but within the Asia-Pacific region as a whole” noted Mr. Masakazu Ichimura, Director of the Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture (CAPSA) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in his inaugural remarks.
While Brett Ballard, Policy Advisor of UNOPS Myanmar on LIFT project stated that “Scaling Up and sustainability are important and in fact essential topic in any developing country context. The two concepts and processes go hand in hand. In the area of aid effectiveness in a context of resource scarcity, the policy issues associated with effectiveness and efficiency, as well as sustainability, and the processes associated with scaling up are becoming increasingly important and relevant”. He also emphasized that successful interventions requires effective monitoring and evaluations mechanisms in place. It needs to be aware of the dangers of trying to move too quickly from micro pilots to macro level implementation, which undermine scaling up simply by moving too fast in ways that do not allow the administrative and programming systems time to keep pace and adapt.
The Multi-stakeholder Dialogue aimed to support scaling-up of successful policy and programme interventions for sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture in Myanmar’s Dry Zone, with its particular objectives to:
(i) Enable a meaningful assessment of policy and programme interventions that can support replication and adoption of successful ones in the Dry Zone.
(ii) Identify key lessons and good practices to scale-up successful interventions and discuss ways to overcome common barriers.
(iii) Develop an Action Agenda to scale-up successful policy and programme interventions with the involvement of all stakeholders.
(iv) Provide an opportunity for knowledge sharing and networking amongst public, civil society and private sector stakeholders in the area of sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture
Six sessions have been delivered within the first day dialogue covered topics of above mentioned objectives. Dr. Tin Htut, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation in his keynote speech with topic of Key opportunities and challenges for scaling-up agricultural development in the Dry Zone said that “Dry Zone covers Mandalay, Magway, Sagaing area have particular condition which is most of the time are not appropriately managed and institutionalized within the development budget – we don’t know what and how to do”.
The key opportunities cover market, postharvest technology, IT, various of laws and policies and data, unfortunately it is s also aligned with challenges that within Department of Agriculture has no department that responsible for each above mentioned opportunities as well as lack of data management, assessment and sensitizing the available data.
With people plant prosperity program, partnerships will be a key and essential matter, exchange farmer knowledge and experience from each region with each participations, integrate the multistakeholder interventions including policy intervention to a coherent and consolidated with Myanmar invested policy.
Around 50 participants representing senior-level participants from national and regional government, multilateral and bilateral organizations, academia, international NGOs, local civil society organizations (CSOs), private sector, and farmer groups attended and took a part within this dialogue. Participating stakeholders expected to draw robust lessons from identified best practices, assessed requirements for an enabling policy environment, and adopted an Action Agenda to guide implementation of the successful interventions on a wider scale.
The two-day ‘Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Scaling-up Interventions for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Myanmar’s Dry Zone’ was organized by CAPSA, the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology, Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization and Network Activities Group under a project funded by the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) and implemented in partnership with the Department of Rural Development of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation of Myanmar.
Reporter: Fitria Rinawati – Interim Project Coordinator CAPSA