The Development of the Agro-Industrial Sector in Northern Myanmar: Constraints and Possibilities

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This is the fifth abstract for the forthcoming IFRD conference, this one co-authored with Dr. Petcharat Lovichakorntikul:

The Development of the Agro-Industrial Sector in Northern Myanmar: Constraints and Possibilities

Abstract

After the return to a form of democracy and the opening of the country, Myanmar has entered a new era of potential rapid economic development. Although there is the prospect of intensive manufacturing based on low labour cost competitiveness, one of the likely mainstays of economic development is in agro-industrial development. The northern division of the country, with its centre the historical capital of Mandalay, offers a great deal of scope for growth in this sector. Many crops grow well in this area and there might be high levels of animal husbandry. However, there are some problems with this approach, including the poor physical and business infrastructure, limited market development, lack of education and training for farmers and the continued prevalence of poverty. This paper explores the current extent of the agro-industrial sector in northern Myanmar and how it might progress in the future. The spread of the Asian Highway Network is one future development that offers optimism for the future and there is scope for more cross-border contract farming as a means of helping farmers move from subsistence farming to market-based production. Policy recommendations are made on the basis of the analysis.

Keywords: agro-industrial development; contract farming; economic development; infrastructure; Myanmar.

Petcharat Lovichakorntikul, School of Management, Shinawatra University

John Walsh, School of Management, Shinawatra University

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