Myanmar must establish cultivation of new plant species and seeds

Myanmar must build businesses in the cultivation of new plant species and seed production, Union Minister for Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr Aung Thu said.

“As the agriculture sector is the main driver of the country’s economy and food security, I urge businesses to carry out sustainable seed production and work with the government to cultivate new plant species,” he said at the 10th East Asia Plant Variety Protection Forum held at the Department of Agriculture Research on September 12.

Although Myanmar is an agriculture-intensive country, the production of pure-strain seed production – which supports the development of agricultural products – is done only by the State. The private sector has so far been absent on this front. “As such, there has so far been little investment in this sector,” Dr Pa Pa Win, assistant research officer from Department of Agriculture Research, told The Myanmar Times.

To-date, the State has already cultivated and produced up to 188 new strains of crops. In fact, the Department of Agriculture Research has established a separate “Protection New Plant Species Unit” to attract targeted investments from the private sector.

By producing new high-yield plant species, the State is not only aiming to increase annual crop yields for local farmers. It also hopes consumers will enjoy additional health benefits and nutritional value from the new crops.

Importantly, new plant species developed to withstand pest infestations can also help the environment.

“By producing new and stronger plant species, we can reduce the use of pesticide and environmental damage,” Dr Pa Pa Win said.

She added that a system to protect the cultivation of new species and seeds must be developed. “The lack of a basic protection system for those involved is the reason why there has not been much investment,” she said.

By ensuring that the plants will be protected as they are being cultivated, “we can encourage investments in producing strains that can endure pests and climate change, said Dr Tin Htut, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.

Source: Myanmar Times

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