Seminar on Myanmar’s Rural Transformation at MSU

Dr. Ben Belton, will be discussing recent findings of large scale surveys implemented by FSP in Myanmar and the need for policies in order to support successful livelihood diversification and leverage greater value from existing agri-food value chains.

Dr. Ben Belton is an Assistant Professor, International Development, in AFRE and a rural sociologist who has worked extensively in South and Southeast Asia for more than a decade. Belton is an expert on the of aquaculture and capture fisheries development and value chains, and their links to food and nutrition security, poverty, social wellbeing and the environment.

The seminar will take place on May 23, 2019 in Room 75 of Morrill Hall of Agriculture, from 3:30 to 5 pm.

The MSU-led Food Security Policy Project (FSPP) has been operating in Myanmar for 4.5 years. During this time FSPP has implemented some of the first large scale surveys of rural households, communities and off-farm enterprises in Myanmar’s main agro-ecological zones, as part of its program of activities to strengthen research and policy capacity. These surveys have documented extremely rapid transformations taking place in rural areas. Processes observed include major improvements in rural infrastructure; widespread and accelerating domestic and international migration; rising rural wages; extremely rapid and widespread - but scale neutral - agricultural mechanization; very rapid growth of poultry, swine and fish farming and a related boom in maize cultivation for the production of animal feeds. However, these trends co-exist with challenges that include high levels of landlessness, a history of conflicts and land grabbing, and low agricultural yields and returns for many common crops. Findings point to the need for policies that take into regional variations in geography, support successful livelihood diversification into non-farm activities, and leverage greater value from existing agri-food value chains.

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