Agriculture resilience and private sector partnerships key topics at AIDF Asia summit

Looking beyond subsistence farming

Building resilience in agricultural and food systems is one of the greatest challenges of development. An FAO study showed that agriculture in developing countries suffered 23% of all damage and loss caused by medium and large-scale disasters from 2006-2016. Smallholder farmers are at the forefront and are among the most vulnerable.

Agriculture resilience is one of the key topics at the Aid & International Development Asia Summit (AIDF Asia) in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar this week. Experts from the development world came together to talk about innovations, policies, and initiatives to support community resilience and food security including early warning systems, data collection, and financing of sustainable and climate-smart agriculture programs.

East-West Seed is pleased to participate in this summit, which highlights capacity-building for smallholder farmers and encouraging farmer-led innovations. Stuart Morris, Executive Director of East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer, is in attendance along with Mar Lar Soe, extension manager for Myanmar, and Dr. Robert Acosta, technology transfer manager for the Philippines.


East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer representation in the International Development Forum in Myanmar. From L-R: Stuart Morris (Executive Director), Mar Lar Soe (Extension Manager, Myanmar), Dr Robert Acosta (Technology Transfer Manager, Philippines)

AIDF Asia was keynoted by Dr. Tin Htut, Permanent Secretary of Myanmar’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Irrigation. Dr Tin Htut emphasized that “we need the right technology” to achieve our goals.

Peter Batchelor, country director of the UNDP, noted a positive trend: “'Some countries in the region are increasingly seeing themselves as development partners rather than recipients of aid.” He said Myanmar is set to receive 2 billion USD per year in development aid. This is the second biggest in the region, with Vietnam receiving twice this amount.

Mr Batchelor mentioned, however, that aid is not everything. He said FDI will soon overtake aid in Myanmar, as the private sector steps up to invest increasingly in sustainable business.

One of the examples of public-private partnerships given during the summit was the highly successful cooperation between the Mercy Corps and East West Seed. Ms. Aye Kyawt Swe, Agriculture Technical Advisor & Project Coordinator, Mercy Corps - Myanmar, presented this during the Panel Session on "Innovations & Policy for Agricultural Productivity and Transformation”.

“If we can't make farming more profitable, people look for other solutions - such as migration. We need to look beyond subsistence farming. Vegetables offer a realistic opportunity for many rural farmers,” said Mr Morris. “We are happy to see a shift in thinking: investing in social development can make good business sense. It's not just about 'being good' rather it’s finding opportunities where all actors win.”


Ms. Aye Kyawt Swe, Agriculture Technical Advisor & Project Coordinator, Mercy Corps - Myanmar, presented the partnership between East-West Seed and Mercy Corps during the Panel Session on "Innovations & Policy for Agricultural Productivity and Transformation”.

For more information:
East-West Seed
No. 50/1 Moo 2, Sainoi-Bang Bua
Thong Rd, Amphur Sainoi, Nonthaburi
11150, THAILAND
T: +66 (02) 831 7700
F: +66 (02) 923 7794
inter@eastwestseed.com
www.eastwestseed.com

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