Emerging horticultural research and education opportunities in Myanmar

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar (also known as Burma) has been undergoing political transformation in recent years that has opened up new opportunities for agricultural development. Agriculture is an important component of the country’s economy, and horticultural production has good potential for fostering development.

Compared with many other developing countries, Myanmar is relatively rich in natural resources (e.g., water) that could support diverse horticultural crop production. Precipitation is relatively abundant but seasonable, and much of the country is frost free. Nonetheless, for the vast majority of fruit and vegetable crops, yields are well below world averages.

The agriculture sector contributes 38% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs more than 60% of the workforce. However, Myanmar has only one agricultural university, and the supply of well-qualified graduates is far below that which is needed for a robust horticultural sector. Horticulture is one of the major departments at the agricultural university. Many faculty and students are enthusiastic, motivated, and open to professional development. Hence, there is a significant opportunity to increase academic and technical capacity in horticulture.

Specific areas of need include seed science technology, improved fertilizer use, pest management practices, postharvest technology, improved genetic resources, application of biotechnology, and increased extension advisory services. Although there are many obstacles to overcome, improved and sustainable horticultural crop production provides a significant opportunity for addressing human nutrition and economic development issues in the country.

Access the full study at HortScience.

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