Representatives of SoilCares’ marketing and sales department visited Myanmar from 9 till 17 May, on invitation by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Aim of this mission was to gain insights in the agricultural market in Myanmar and to explore the need and opportunities for soil testing with different stakeholders (government, NGO’s, private companies). Together with scientists from Wageningen University and Research Centre and the company Orgaworld Asia, who is based in Myanmar, meetings were arranged with government officials. NGO’s and private companies throughout Myanmar.
The agricultural sector in Myanmar is of central importance from a strategic development and poverty reduction point of view, with a predominantly agricultural economy. Myanmar was ranked among the poorest (161 of 180 countries) by the International Monetary Fund. It ranks 149 of 187 countries on the United Nation human development index, placing lowest in East and Southeast Asia. Some 26% of the population lives in poverty.
In addition to being the core means of livelihood for the great majority of the population, improvements in agricultural productivity is critical to raising the livelihoods of the rural population. The government of Myanmar places the highest priority on development of the sector and sees it as the basis for food security and increased employment.
Soils in Myanmar are in general low in nutrients and organic matter. Soil erosion is also a big issue in multiple areas, especially in places in the dry zone.
The governments of Myanmar and the Netherlands signed a MoU in the field of agriculture on May 19th 2015. The focus of Myanmar’s government is in developing agribusiness by improving access to research and knowledge and stimulating foreign companies to invest and enter the Myanmar market.
The meetings provided an excellent overview of the Myanmar market and everybody was very enthusiastic about SoilCares Lab-in-a- box and the SoilCares scanner. SoilCares is now evaluating what the best next steps are to prepare for the Myanmar market.