“We are endeavoring to improve the socio-economic development of the farmers through the development and utilization of modern varieties to improve the quality of rice and, in order to compete in the market, to make improvements in production,” stated H.E. Dr. Sai Mauk Kham, Vice President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, in opening remarks to the Forum.
Several immediate proposals arrived at in the discussions will be forwarded to the Government for consolidation as action plans:
Three Ministers and deputy ministers from nine Ministries of the Government attended the Forum joining experts from within Myanmar, from the region and from Europe and the United States, as well as representatives of the UN, international organizations, diplomats, and civil society and the private sector in Myanmar; altogether, more than 150 participants.
“We seek to adopt policies for augmenting income for rice farmers and for the convenience of consumers,” said H.E. U Tin Naing Thein, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development. “I believe that the outcomes of this Forum will also be supportive in drafting policies on agricultural production, trade and food security.”
U Win Aung, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Chamber of Commerce noted the importance of initiating public private partnerships (PPPs) in responding to the challenges in the rice economy, and offered private sector support for seeking engagement with ESCAP in creating PPPs
Discussants noted the importance of addressing larger macroeconomic issues affecting the rice economy, especially the exchange rate crisis leading to an appreciation of the Myanmar national currency, causing paddy rice prices to decline and growing joblessness due to the pressures on the export sector.
This Forum advanced work begun at the Second Development Partnership Forum, held in December 2009 in Myanmar, which focused on broader development issues of the agricultural sector and included participation by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.
The Forum also comes soon after a May Government-led National Workshop on Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development where President Thein Sein observed that the country’s agricultural production costs were still high, and that the new Government’s drive for building a modern and developed nation largely depended on the country’s pace of economic growth. Noting the interest of the President in the Forum, three Presidential Advisors attended the Forum, indicating at the conclusion that they would be reporting recommendations directly to the President.
Following the conclusion of the Development Forum, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Dr. Heyzer met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Francyne Harrigan
Mr. Paul Risley
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Headquartered in Bangkok, United Nations ESCAP is the largest of the UN's five Regional Commissions in terms of its membership, population served and area covered. The only inter-governmental forum covering the entire Asia-Pacific region, ESCAP works to promote sustainable and inclusive economic and social progress. More information on ESCAP is available at www.unescap.org
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