Chinese firms get green light to begin contract farming in Northern Shan

Chinese firms will soon begin contract farming of maize and paddy rice in Lashio district, Northern Shan State, according to U Soe Nyunt Lwin, Shan State Minister for Planning and Finance. The firms will look to partner with Myanmar farmers to bolster maize and paddy rice production as a way to substitute for poppy production in the region.

Local firms AAP and Kwan Sai Hein Co will partner with the Chinese to grow maize and paddy. This agricultural alliance is expected to lead to the farming of 11500 acres of maize and 8200 acres of paddy.

Since 2015, there has been a sharp decline in poppy cultivation in Shan State, with acres of land earmarked for maize production as a substitute for opium farming.

Plans are now in place for local Myanmar companies to co-produce with Chinese firms, which will see advances of maize and paddy cultivated in Northern Shan State.

U Soe Nyunt Lwin explained the importance of modernising the agricultural sector in the Shan North in partnership with neighbouring China and Thailand, as this will reduce the high input costs of pesticides and fertilizers and ease the burden of debt inflicted on self-reliant farmers.

This latest approval of contract farming in the region is expected to pave the way for further discussions with interested countries with the aim of expanding exports.

The Shan State minister is optimistic that more countries will consider establishing agrarian partnerships with independent farmers. “We are in talks with six Mekong countries for contract farming, and if given the go ahead, maize farmers in Shan State will not need to worry as they can extend exports to other countries,” he said.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation have exerted efforts to establish contract farming procedures that aim to boost agricultural production and ensure farmers enjoy contracts with foreign investments.

As of 2018, the agricultural sector accounted for 38 percent of GDP and 70 percent of the workforce.

Source : Myanmar Times

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