Food Security Policy Project in Myanmar: Approach, Accomplishments and Challenges
Myanmar lags behind most countries in Asia and Southeast Asia on almost every development metric. This is a result of decades of political isolation, conflict, oppression and inequality. Because two-thirds of Myanmar’s population and three-fourths of its poor live and work in rural areas, broad-based agricultural growth offers a uniquely powerful instrument for accelerating rural economic growth and improving the welfare and food security of vulnerable households. Policy and institutional reforms are essential to achieving the objective of increasing broad-based economic growth. MSU began working in Myanmar in October 2012 under an Associate Award from USAID Burma to the Food Security III Cooperative Agreement. This project had a very important influence on successive phases of engagement in Myanmar under an Associate Award to the Feed The Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy (FSP-IL), with additional funding from the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust (LIFT) fund.
The project’s main accomplishments, in collaboration with other actors, have been:
- The adoption of a new agricultural policy and a new agricultural strategy;
- The establishment of a policy analysis unit in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation;
- Strengthening of research-extension linkages through the first pilot regional research decentralization program;
- Contributions to the development of subsector strategies for agricultural research, fertilizer, irrigation, pulses, and seed;
- Capacity building training for Ministry, University, and Civil Society staff engaged in policy processes; and
- Collection of statistically representative data and analysis on agriculture, agribusiness and rural livelihoods in four regions of the country, and six major value chains, to support Ministry, Donor and Civil Society investment priorities and program design.
Project publications and outreach materials related to these accomplishments can be found at: http://foodsecuritypolicy.msu.edu/countries/burma
Phase 1: Associate Award under Food Security III Cooperative Agreement
Summary of phase 1 objectives, activities and outputs
The goal of this phase of the program was to provide information to USAID Burma and key partners and stakeholders to address food security in Burma, including agriculture sector growth and other related issues. The objectives of this program were to 1) carry out a food security and agricultural sector diagnostic in Burma; 2) conduct research and analysis to inform and support a USAID food security program for Burma aiming to address food shortages through broad-based, equitable and sustainable growth in agriculture; and 3) conduct additional analyses and research based on the findings and recommendations of the initial diagnostic, subject to the availability of funding. The project activities were designed and implemented in close collaboration with the Myanmar Development Resources Institute Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI-CESD) and other local partners to build a coalition of partners for food security, build the capacity of public and private institutions to conduct research and analysis, and expand the knowledge base of food security related issues in Burma.
The first phase of project activities involved an agricultural sector diagnostic by a multi-disciplinary blended team of MDRI-CESD staff, MSU faculty and international consultants. This team was supplemented, by USAID/USG staff and other international technical staff with relevant contributions to the diagnostic scope of work. The diagnostic report was presented at a workshop with representatives of Government, private sector, civil society and donor representatives. The diagnostic phase clarified and promoted consensus on top level objectives for agricultural sector development, the current performance, opportunities and constraints faced by the agricultural sector in achieving those objectives, the key issues that need to be resolved to improve performance, as well as critical knowledge and capacity gaps that must be overcome to plan and implement improved programs (investments) and policies.
The next phase of project activities focused on priority issues and knowledge or capacity gaps identified in the diagnostic phase. Such activities included capacity building needs assessments, studies of key policy issues, and short course training for government staff and local collaborators.
The outputs of this project included a detailed diagnostic report on the agricultural sector, a stronger coalition of public, private and civil society stakeholders in support of a food security strategy that promotes broad based economic growth and poverty reduction, and an improved knowledge and capacity base on which to build future food security programs. All working papers and presentations are archived online at: https://web.archive.org/web/20160918110931/http:/fsg.afre.msu.edu/Myanmar/index.htm
Key Findings of the Diagnostic Report
The diagnostic report stressed the need for Myanmar to undertake a series of key institutional and policy reforms to match the impressive agricultural performance of its regional peers. For example, Myanmar invests only 10% as much in agricultural research (per $100 in agricultural output) as its regional counterparts. Not only will Myanmar need to boost the resources it allocates to agriculture, it will also need to restructure its line ministries and departments in order to support the core public goods and services that drive productivity growth in agriculture more effectively. Many decades of socialist command and control systems have left a legacy of overstaffed departments designed to supervise and control farmer decisions. Yet service-oriented systems for listening to farmers, diagnosing problems and finding practical, scientific solutions have atrophied.
The report identified the need for restructuring of agricultural support institutions in the three key areas. First are the public goods that drive broad-based agricultural productivity growth: • agricultural research, through the creation of a market-oriented, farmer-centered research system, • extension system modernization and reform, • agricultural education, • irrigation and improved water management systems, • land administration and access, • deepening of rural financial systems, • improved rural communications and transport, • support for farmer-based organizations and • a transparent, predictable policy environment, particularly in areas governing land use decisions, input quality and cross-border trade. Second is an accurate, objective statistical data collection and dissemination system. Currently, few stakeholders express confidence in Myanmar’s official production statistics -- even for rice, where alternate estimates differ by as much as 50%. Yet transparent, effective policies require a firm empirical grounding, as do private sector investment decisions. As part of an overall effort to improve agricultural data, MOAI’s detailed cadastral map library could quickly be digitized, geo-referenced and combined with best practice survey methods to lower data collection costs, increase speed and improve precision, early warning and forecasting capacity. Third, is a long-range reengineering of the organization and funding for education, health and nutrition institutions that promote long-term human capital formation among rural children, particularly the children of landless households and other disadvantaged groups.
Options for improving agricultural performance in the near term while institutional and policy reforms are implemented center on four strategic axes. The first involves improving the productivity of monsoon rice through improved seed quality, better agronomic practices, improved water control, optimized fertilizer and input use, and integrated pest management. Improved practices among rice farmers could increase productivity and earnings from paddy farming on the order of 25% to 50% over the next 5 to 7 years, even under current conditions. Updating and enforcing pesticide regulations, such as the 1991 requirement to print instructions in Myanmar language, offers an additional quick opportunity to reduce pesticide misuse. Second, promoting diversification into high-value horticulture, poultry, fisheries and small livestock offers prospects for raising returns per acre by a factor of two to ten for both small farmers and landless. A third set of interventions revolves around post-harvest opportunities for reducing losses and increasing market access for Myanmar farmers. The fourth major axis under a Short Game would focus on landless and other vulnerable rural households. One segment of this effort will focus on preparing children of landless and near landless for productive career trajectories in high-productivity agriculture, agribusiness and nonfarm professions by building up their human capital through nutrition programs and enhanced access to improved rural education. Related efforts involve improving safety nets for vulnerable members of the population.
The diagnostic report effectively served as an agricultural development strategy 1.0 that guided the design and implementation of the Associate Award under FSP-IL. The messages were widely accepted by the donor community, civil society and the private sector but not by the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation (MOAI) who refused to move beyond an agenda of rice sector “modernization”.
Phase 2: Associate Award under FSP-IL during the pre-transition government led by Union Solidarity and Development Party
The FSP-IL Associate Award began in September 2014 with a planned life of five years. It included a new partner, FSP-IL consortium partner IFPRI, and two full-time MSU in-country staff Tom Reardon and Ben Belton (formerly with WorldFish). Both had been involved in the latter part of the FSIII Associate Award, undertaking broad value chain scoping including aquaculture for the first time. A key difference between the FSIII Associate Award and the FSP-IL Associate Award was an explicit objective to address the critical gap of accurate empirical information about agriculture and the rural economy. LIFT became the second donor in July 2016 with complementary objectives and a three year planned life. An important contextual reality was national elections planned for early November 2015 which limited the scope for empirical data collection in the first full year of the Associate Award.
The overall goal of the Food Security Policy Project (FSPP) is to promote inclusive agricultural productivity growth, improved nutritional outcomes, and enhanced livelihood resilience for men and women through an improved policy enabling environment. Taking a broad view of agriculture, including the farm and off-farm parts of the food system, this goal will be achieved through increased capacity to generate policy-relevant evidence and gender-sensitive analysis that is used by stakeholders throughout the food system to improve policy formulation and implementation. This goal is to be achieved by two integrated objectives:
Objective 1: To address critical evidence gaps for informed policy debate and formulation. The Project will generate, synthesize, and disseminate new knowledge on targeted policy issues for which the current evidence base is insufficient, and thus facilitate and encourage reforms.
Objective 2: To foster credible, inclusive, transparent, and sustainable policy processes in Burma. The Project will strengthen the building blocks for Burmese national and state/region policy systems, promote inclusion of and dialogue among all stakeholders around critical policy issues, and disseminate globally sourced examples of successful innovation and best practice in policy system capacity building.
The project is comprised of an integrated set of four components that feed into these two objectives:
Component 1: Policy/strategy advising. This component is responsible for consulting with stakeholders and getting a sense of policy issues, doing outreach from research results to policy audiences, and conducting policy analysis.
Component 2: Agrifood value chains (AFVCs). This component is responsible learning about AFVCs and the specific issues faced by each one in terms of the field research and analysis, outreach of the study results, policy advising from the results, and capacity building for doing similar work.
Component 3: Household and communities livelihoods. This has the same set of responsibilities as the second component, but for specific geographical areas.
Component 4: Capacity and network building. This component funnels, cross-fertilizes, documents, and organizes the capacity building actions of the other three components. This is so other institutions interface with the project in a continuous way and builds to a body of imparted method and approach.
Major activities completed under each component during the initial phase of the project include the following:
Agrifood value chains: Value chain research comprised a ‘rapid reconnaissance’ survey of inland (freshwater) fish farming (responsible for 95% of Myanmar’s reported aquaculture). We started by identifying, measuring, and cataloguing inland fish ponds in the Delta (where 90% of Myanmar aquaculture takes place) using satellite images from Google Earth. We then traveled to seven townships, accounting for 75% of total fish pond area, and to San Pya market – the main fish wholesale market in Yangon which receives most of the fish produced in the Delta. In each township we did an inventory of all the segments of the value chain, with numbers of fish farms, rural traders, hatcheries and nurseries, feed mills and feed traders, and linked services like transporters and ice services. Then we did detailed interviews with structured interview guides with 251 persons. The study challenges much of the conventional wisdom on aquaculture in Myanmar, indicating the existence of a dynamic sector with great potential for commercial smallholder led growth, but which is heavily constrained by structural constraints, including land use regulations and inadequate credit markets.
Household and community livelihoods: The project’s largest research component was the Mon State Rural Household Survey (MSRHS). The survey was designed to investigate how different types of rural households derive and utilize their incomes, links between the farm and non-farm economies, and opportunities for economic reform and growth, and will provide evidence on which to base a Mon State Rural Development Strategy, requested by the Mon State government. The survey was a major undertaking. Twelve households were selected in each of 148 enumeration areas (EAs), to give a total sample of more than 1700, and 66 enumerators from Mon State were hired and trained in data collection. The survey questionnaire covered a broad range of issues pertinent to the analysis of rural livelihoods, including household consumption and assets, farm enterprise budgets, non-farm employment, migration, transfers and savings, health and education, access to public services and credit, subjective wellbeing, dietary diversity, and shocks. Community questionnaires were also administered in every EA selected.
The MSRHS was undoubtedly an ambitious survey for a completely raw group of young researchers. Inevitably a great deal of consortium staff effort was require to clean the data and generate the analysis. Several DC-based IFPRI staff visited Myanmar to participate in Stata training and ensure that each pair of CESD researchers had an experienced analyst to work with and guide them. The two major reports published in 2016 – one on rural livelihoods and one on rural development strategy – proved invaluable to the new regional government as they put together their regional strategy. Project staff took part in several briefings for the Chief Minister and cabinet, for parliament, as well as validating results at township level.
Policy/strategy advising: FSSP’s major contribution to policy strategy advising was in its support to flood recovery policy. In June 2015, heavy rains precipitated floods in several parts of Burma, affecting over 1.6 million people and more than 1.4 million acres of farmlands, marking Burma’s worst flood for 60 years. MDRI-CESD executive director, Dr. Zaw Oo, chaired the committee coordinating the national flood recovery effort on behalf of government and international development partners. Recommendations from research conducted for FSP are being adopted as part of this process. Burma’s president, Thein Sein, promised to support farmers who have lost their rice crop to grow alternative crops such as higher value beans and pulses rather than paddy during the post-monsoon cropping season in order to help stimulate farm incomes and rural economic activity. Working closely with officials coordinating the recovery effort, the project also helped to value the damage and losses experienced by farmers, and offer short, intermediate and long term strategies to help the sector ‘build back better’ for a more resilient future.
Capacity and network building: FSPP delivered a variety of training and capacity building activities around value chains; both theoretical and practical. MDRI-CESD research staff gained extensive practical experience of conducting value chain research through aquaculture. This was augmented by a series of research seminars held at MDRI. The project’s analysis of the aquaculture led to the project being included as a charter member of the Myanmar Fisheries Research Network. The project also provided value chain analysis training to 62 employees of Burmese civil society organizations in the Community Development & Civic Empowerment (CDCE) Program at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Survey implementation and data analysis activities conducted under MSRHS represented another major component of capacity building for project researchers. This comprised an immersive program of guided learning by doing, with activities including survey design, pre-testing, translation, training for trainers, enumerator supervision and logistical support, as well as the use of STATA software to enable data cleaning and analysis. This training and its direct practical application represents an extremely valuable addition to the skillset of researchers involved. The project also provided diagnostic support and training communications, policy advocacy and policy analysis to members of the Food Security Working Group.
Phase 3: Associate Award under FSP-IL during the transition government led by the National League for Democracy
The National League for Democracy (NLD) won an overwhelming majority in the November 8, 2015 elections.  The project, like other USAID implementing partners and the NLD itself, began intensive preparations for the new government to take office on April 1, 2016. Duncan Boughton, who served as acting Burma COP based in East Lansing during the previous year, relinquished his FSP-IL Program Director responsibilities effective January 1, 2016 and moved to Yangon.
While nothing changed in terms of project objectives, partners and approach, everything changed in terms of having the opportunity for a much more active “second rail” of policy reform. This second rail sought to help the new government put in place an agricultural policy and strategy, and lay the foundation for the institutional architecture to implement it.
The initial step involved the preparation of an agricultural strategy white paper entitled “From Rice Bowl to Food Basket”. The paper sets out an agricultural transformation strategy for Myanmar based on the experience of other Asian countries, heavily influenced by urban income growth and diet transformation. It also identifies specific policy changes needed to support transformation in the upstream, farm production and downstream parts of the food system. The paper was prepared by a team of analysts from Nathan Associates, MSU, ARD Tetratech, USAID, and LIFT, under the leadership of the Chairperson of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council Dr Tin Htut Oo, with intellectual contributions from Tom Reardon. If the diagnostic paper from the pre-Associate Award phase can be considered as an agricultural development strategy 1.0, then the agricultural strategy white paper was effectively version 2.0. The next step was to give a series of presentations at various fora with government, private sector and civil society to make the case for agriculture-led rural economic growth as a central component of the government’s overall economic development strategy, and to present the approach advocated in the white paper as an effective means to achieving that objective.
Once the main messages of the agricultural strategy white paper had gained broad acceptance with new government leadership and stakeholders the next stage was to help the new Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI) to internalize it. MOALI formed their own senior management working group to draft an agricultural policy, with technical review and editorial support provided by the white paper working group. Myanmar’s first agricultural policy was published in early 2017. In parallel with the new agricultural policy preparation the project proposed the creation of an agricultural policy unit (APU) within the Department of Planning of MOALI to evaluate sector-specific policy options and guide policy implementation. This proposal, developed jointly by IFPRI and MSU, was also accepted by MOALI. Project COP Duncan Boughton was appointed as one of three international advisers to support the APU.
In September MOALI accepted an offer from the Asian Development Bank to assist with the preparation of a comprehensive Agricultural Development Strategy (ADS) in preparation for a grant proposal submission to the GAFSP in early January. The three pillars of the draft ADS – governance, farm-level productivity and competitiveness – closely mirror the three pillars of the agricultural strategy white paper. Following an extensive program of regional consultations, the ADS was formally launched on June 7, 2018. Implementation of the ADS faces several major hurdles, however. The structure of the Ministry still reflects the structure of the three former Ministries from which it was created. The Ministry’s functions are highly centralized at Union level, yet even at central level are fragmented and siloed across 167 Divisions. The ADS has not yet been broadly internalized by Ministry staff, and active reformers among the Ministry’s leadership are few and not adequately empowered by their political masters. Technical skills, especially in economics and agribusiness, are also extremely scarce. This makes it difficult to move forward with key organizational changes, such as the creation of a Department of Agribusiness or the upgrading of the APU to Division status.
Aware from previous MSU experience in Mozambique and other countries that a Ministry-housed APU cannot be expected to have a research function, the project also developed relationships with Yezin Agricultural University (YAU), located about 15 miles outside the capital city of NayPyiTaw. The Department of Agricultural Economics is one of the stronger departments at YAU and undertakes a limited amount of research in addition to MS and PhD thesis research. Professor Eric Crawford of MSU’s Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics Department taught a cost-benefit analysis short course to a mixed group of staff comprising MOALI, YAU and local partner CESD. Two policy analysis courses followed, co-organized by YAU, DOP and IFPRI staff. The project also supported Fintrac in the implementation of an Enabling the Business of Agriculture short course.
Having charted a way forward for preparation of the new agricultural policy and a minimalist institutional infrastructure, the next step was to continue alignment of the project’s innovative research agenda with critical policy issues. Project research conducted prior to the election had demonstrated how an empirical understanding of rural livelihoods based on a representative household sample could inform regional development strategy. With a new government in place the project could turns its attention to the economically and politically more important Delta region to understand how proximity to a large urban center (Yangon) is driving rural wage rates and mechanization, and measure spillovers to the off-farm parts of the rural economy from the presence of a large aquaculture subsector. This set of studies is called the Myanmar Aquaculture-Agriculture Study (MAAS). In response to pressure from LIFT for faster research results, the project also adapted its analysis approach to publish more interim results on specific issues in the rural economy rather than waiting for one or two major reports to be completed. As with Mon State, however, the project continued active outreach to regional governments, donors, civil society and private sector actors.
The new government was also concerned about another critical region known as the Central Dry Zone (CDZ), home to 10 million people. A new set of research objectives and questions were prepared to develop an empirical understanding of the rural economy and agriculture in the Dry Zone (READZ) were developed to guide scoping, questionnaire design and sample selection for 1,600 households in six townships. The new study uses the same methodological approach as MAAS, but with a focus on how access to water affects productivity and diversification at the farm level, as well as the performance of the key pulses and oilseed value chains. A follow up study of variety adoption and quality seed demand in the Dry Zone, covering 1,400 households in six townships, was undertaken to assess the feasibility of alleviating a critical constraint to improved productivity. Following these successful studies in the Delta and Dry Zone, a similar study is now underway in Shan State (SHARES) for 1,600 households in ten townships, with a focus on maize and pigeonpea value chains.
As in the case of the Myanmar floods in 2014, the crash in paddy prices in 2016 created an important window for reinforcing policy messages related to diversification. In the past private sector groups such as Myanmar Rice Federation have regularly called for minimum prices or emergency reserves as a means to access low cost finance from government. In anticipation of such calls to the new government, Paul Dorosh of IFPRI and Myat Thida Win of CESD developed a rice market model to estimate the cost of alternative price intervention schemes. The crash in paddy prices in the Fall of 2016 was precipitated by China closing the land border over which most Myanmar rice exports flow. This led to traders having large amounts of capital tied up in stocks as the new paddy crop was approaching harvest. The problem was exacerbated by an extended monsoon season resulting in large quantities of wet paddy during harvest. The project was able to use the IFPRI model to demonstrate the minimum price intervention was not feasible from a fiscal standpoint, and provided alternative measures such as extending MADB credit repayment deadlines and increasing credit for non-paddy crops in the post-monsoon season.
A similar situation occurred in the pulse sector in 2017 after India imposed import quotas, amounting to an effective import ban on Myanmar’s two largest pulse crops – black gram and pigeonpea. Once again prices crashed. The project updated its 2014 pulse value chain study and made a series of recommendations to diversify markets, including expanding domestic demand, while increasing productivity. The project also prepared a policy memo for use in bilateral negotiations with the Government of India.
IFPRI engagement has been expanded to address additional policy issues of relevance to the new agricultural policy and ADS. Using FSP-IL core funds Mark Rosegrant and colleagues will undertake a study of the impact of climate change on irrigation strategy, while David Spielman will undertake a study of seed demand in the CDZ using USAID Burma and LIFT funds. Mark Rosegrant’s study is of high policy relevance since irrigation expenditures account for 40% of MOALI’s budget, yet farmer access to and level of control over water remains highly constrained and current irrigation infrastructure is vulnerable to both drought and floods. David’s study of seed demand will help inform implementation of the recently approved seed strategy which seeks to expand the role of the private sector in seed multiplication and distribution.
The project also added a new dimension to capacity building for CESD staff. Historically our capacity building has focused on conceptual understanding of value chains and agricultural transformation, and survey design, management and analysis. But during a post-survey debriefing with enumerators for the Mon State “hope survey” we had found that 8 out of 11 female college senior or college graduate enumerators had never set goals for themselves. Yet all had realized the importance of doing so as a result of participating in the household survey. They attributed their lack of exposure to goal setting to the Myanmar educational system which is based entirely on rote learning. Shocked by this revelation we decided to organize a study for our CESD researchers of the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. We covered a chapter a week with CESD team members taking turns to prepare questions and lead a discussion on how Myanmar culture, especially organizational culture, facilitates or hinders personal and team effectiveness.
USAID Asia has sought to share the lessons of the project’s successful track record to date with other USAID missions. In March 2017, the project was invited to give two presentations, one on research evidence on agricultural transformation and one on the project’s experience in policy engagement, at the USAID Asia Global Learning and Engagement Event (GLEE) in Bangkok. The project also shared findings at the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support Systems (Re-SAKSS) conference in December 2017.
The project faces a number of challenges as it enters its final year. The Rakhine crisis that erupted in August 2017 has drastically changed Myanmar’s international image and consumed the energies of its highly centralized political leadership. Delays in the launch of the Agricultural Development Strategy (ADS) mean that the project effectively only has one year of ADS implementation to consolidate its contributions prior to closeout. Specific proposed priority actions for the final year include:
- Preparation of a brief assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the Agricultural Policy Unit after its first year of implementation and recommendations for further strengthening for discussion with senior MOALI decision makers;
- Consolidate progress made in the Productivity pillar of the ADS by laying the groundwork for a national agricultural research system with strong linkages to extension, and supporting seed sector reforms through presentation of the first empirical analysis of variety adoption and quality seed demand for a major region of the country at the national seed platform;
- Advocate for a regional approach to ADS implementation through regional policy fora using findings of the four regional agricultural and rural economy studies conducted during the project life to stimulate debate;
- Organize a national policy forum event to present findings from the regional fora, with perspectives of private sector and civil society, to coincide with an ADS Subsector Coordination Group event.
Summary of Key Lessons
- History, culture, geography, and political economy are of enormous importance in policy reform for transition and post-conflict countries. Effective policy reform projects have to understand this context.
- In a highly centralized political decision-making environments such as Myanmar, USAID can play an important role in communicating messages at the top political levels of government that reinforce project engagement with mid-level decision makers.
- Having a “ramp” like the two year diagnostic phase under Food Security III is enormously helpful to understanding the above dimensions, as well as for building organizational and personal relationships and trust. It enabled the Associate Award under FSP-IL to get off to a much faster start and, more importantly, in the right direction.
- Building trust relationships between project staff and technical assistance personnel has been a critical factor in the project’s success. USAID Burma thoughtfully allowed project personnel to support MOALI leadership without imposing a specific agenda or the “flag planting” requirements of some donors in Myanmar. The high trust that Myanmar society attributes to academics was also very helpful in building trust relationships with government officials.
- The values of the implementing institutions matter. A commitment to capacity building is essential, and highly valued by national stakeholders in a context of extreme human capital deprivation due to decades of isolation, sanctions, and political oppression. USAID Burma strongly supported capacity building efforts, which in turn led national decision makers to be more receptive to the project’s policy engagement activities.
- Empirical data collection on complex and diverse household and value chain realities requires major investment of experienced human resources. There is no such thing as “low cost” empirical data collection that combines statistical rigor and meaningful analysis. This is especially challenging when the extended monsoon season restricts scoping and household data collection activities to very specific months of the year.
- Flexibility in program design and implementation is essential in transition economies. Opportunities for policy and public sector organizational reform can be anticipated but not definitively predicted, especially in regard to timing. M&E systems should allow for this flexibility or they can become a straightjacket.
For more details, please consult: http://foodsecuritypolicy.msu.edu/countries/burma
 Prepared by Duncan Boughton, Professor, International Development, Michigan State University and Chief of Party, USAID Burma Food Security Policy Project.
 Value chains studies include aquaculture, maize, mechanization services, oilseeds, pulses and seeds.
 Myanmar Fisheries Partnership (MFP) is an initiative to assist the Myanmar government in strengthening effective collaboration for the sustainable development of Myanmar’s fisheries and aquaculture sector. It is an informal association of institutions, individuals and projects engaged in research and development activities relating to capture fisheries and aquaculture in Myanmar. Affiliated entities include government (Department of Fisheries), private sector (Myanmar Fisheries Federation), national and international development and conservation NGOs (e.g. Network Activities Group; World Conservation Society), universities (e.g. Michigan State University), the CGIAR (WorldFish), and several projects (e.g. the EU funded MYSAP project). The network grew from a policy brief writeshop convened by WorldFish in April 2016, and builds on the model of the Rakhine Fisheries Partnership, established earlier by the DFID funded Pyoe Pin project. The partnership meets on a quarterly basis (alternating between Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw) to share information on ongoing project activities and research findings. MFP has grown considerably in size since its inception, with the most recent meeting attended by many senior officials of the Department of Fisheries. The partnership is increasingly closely integrated with Department of Fisheries, with which it now acts much as an informal working group.
 Although the NLD won 80% of the popular vote the government remains a coalition between civilian and military wings. Twenty-five per cent of seats in the union and regional parliaments are reserved for the military, along with one of two Vice Presidents and cabinet members for three key ministries.