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Food Security in Burma - specialised groups, general reports and statistics

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Permanent People’s Tribunal on the Right to Food and the Rule of Law in Asia
Date of publication: April 2003
Description/subject: "Which is more important: a full stomach or equal protection under the law? Most people would hesitate to answer. It’s a false choice that ignores the interdependence of economic and civil rights, which proposes that the hungry will be nourished by law and order, while the well-fed are fortified against dysfunctional courts. This May 2003, the Asian Legal Resource Centre announced the launch of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on the Right to Food and the Rule of Law in Asia. The Tribunal comes at a time when many governments still assert that economic and social rights can be addressed separately from civil and political rights. In fact, no rights are guaranteed without effective laws to secure them and ensure redress for victims. Without equitable and enforceable laws, the product of a farmer’s plough is no more secure than the product of a journalist’s pen... Read more..." This page also contains specific reports on violations of the right to food in Burma.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Legal Resource Centre
Format/size: pdf (672K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Agriculture, Livelihoods & Food Security
Description/subject: "Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. The broad aim of the Thematic Group on Food Security and Agriculture in Myanmar (TGFSA) will be to intensify efforts towards achieving MDG 1 and the World Summit Goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015. The aim of the Delta Livelihoods Working Group is to create a forum for discussion on livelihoods issues and facilitate the formulation of complementary Cyclone Nargis Recovery Programmes in order to support and ensure livelihoods of people in the Delta are restored and improved."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU)
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 07 October 2010


Title: Center of Globalisation and Sustainable Development
Description/subject: "The world has witnessed significant, exciting and sudden political changes in Myanmar over the past couple years. The country is at a critical phase in its social and economic transformation, and there is enormous opportunity for development economic growth. CGSD is building a Sustainable Development Program to provide policy support for the government, local NGOs and the donor community, accelerating growth that is both socially inclusive, sustainable and mindful of climate risks and opportunities..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Earth Institute | Columbia University
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 October 2013


Title: Food Security Working Group (Myanmar)
Description/subject: Established in 2002 the FSWG has provided an effective forum for the networking, capacity building & knowledge sharing for organizations and individuals interested in working on food security and livelihood related issues...ONLINE PUBLICATIONS ON FOOD SECURITY IN VARIOUS LANGUAGES OF BURMA
Language: English
Source/publisher: Food Security Working Group
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 24 April 2012


Title: HOUSEHOLD FOOD BASKET BULLETIN (WFP)
Description/subject: Regular publication
Language: English
Source/publisher: World Food Programme (Yangon)
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 10 October 2010


Title: Improving Food Security Research and Analysis Capacity in Burma (Myanmar)
Description/subject: Project Overview...Research Reports...Policy Presentations...MDRI Background and Papers ...Data [not much there]...Links [useful set of links to individual articles and papers, web portals with onward links to information on Myanmar (Burma)and networks]
Source/publisher: Michigan State University
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 June 2013


Individual Documents

Title: WFP Food Security Update, September 2012: Key Events and Early Warning - Myanmar
Date of publication: September 2012
Description/subject: Continuing concerns from previous Updates: Paddy harvest Ayeyarwady, Kayin and Bago: Local and regional rice prices are still being monitored after significant flooding severely affected 126,000 acres of paddy land and completely destroyed 55,000 acres. While the success of the harvest could be mitigated to an extent by post-flood seed distributions (for replanting), the harvest this year will likely be lower than normal in these areas, potentially impacting prices and rice exports..... Sesame, pigeon pea and groundnut harvest - Dry Zone: Harvests are being monitored after drought-like conditions damaged crops in August, leading to as much as a 25% reduction in yield. While replanting was possible, the success of this replanting may have been impacted by another dry spell in September (as pointed out above). Prices of groundnut oil and sesame oil are also being monitored as prices in August were reportedly 70% higher than normal.
Language: English
Source/publisher: World Food Programme (WFP)
Format/size: pdf (167K)
Date of entry/update: 12 October 2012


Title: Diagnosis: Critical – Health And Human Rights in Eastern Burma
Date of publication: 19 October 2010
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report reveals that the health of populations in conflict-affected areas of eastern Burma, particularly women and children, is amongst the worst in the world, a result of official disinvestment in health, protracted conflict and the abuse of civilians..."Diagnosis: Critical" demonstrates that a vast area of eastern Burma remains in a chronic health emergency, a continuing legacy of longstanding official disinvestment in health, coupled with protracted civil war and the abuse of civilians. This has left ethnic rural populations in the east with 41.2% of children under five acutely malnourished. 60.0% of deaths in children under the age of 5 are from preventable and treatable diseases, including acute respiratory infection, malaria, and diarrhea. These losses of life would be even greater if it were not for local community-based health organizations, which provide the only available preventive and curative care in these conflict-affected areas. The report summarizes the results of a large scale population-based health and human rights survey which covered 21 townships and 5,754 households in conflict-affected zones of eastern Burma. The survey was jointly conducted by the Burma Medical Association, National Health and Education Committee, Back Pack Health Worker Team and ethnic health organizations serving the Karen, Karenni, Mon, Shan, and Palaung communities. These areas have been burdened by decades of civil conflict and attendant human rights abuses against the indigenous populations. Eastern Burma demographics are characterized by high birth rates, high death rates and the significant absence of men under the age of 45, patterns more comparable to recent war zones such as Sierra Leone than to Burma’s national demographics. Health indicators for these communities, particularly for women and children, are worse than Burma’s official national figures, which are already amongst the worst in the world. Child mortality rates are nearly twice as high in eastern Burma and the maternal mortality ratio is triple the official national figure. While violence is endemic in these conflict zones, direct losses of life from violence account for only 2.3% of deaths. The indirect health impacts of the conflict are much graver, with preventable losses of life accounting for 59.1% of all deaths and malaria alone accounting for 24.7%. At the time of the survey, one in 14 women was infected with Pf malaria, amongst the highest rates of infection in the world. This reality casts serious doubts over official claims of progress towards reaching the country’s Millennium Development Goals related to the health of women, children, and infectious diseases, particularly malaria. The survey findings also reveal widespread human rights abuses against ethnic civilians. Among surveyed households, 30.6% had experienced human rights violations in the prior year, including forced labor, forced displacement, and the destruction and seizure of food. The frequency and pattern with which these abuses occur against indigenous peoples provide further evidence of the need for a Commission of Inquiry into Crimes against Humanity. The upcoming election will do little to alleviate the situation, as the military forces responsible for these abuses will continue to operate outside civilian control according to the new constitution. The findings also indicate that these abuses are linked to adverse population-level health outcomes, particularly for the most vulnerable members of the community—mothers and children. Survey results reveal that members of households who suffer from human rights violations have worse health outcomes, as summarized in the table above. Children in households that were internally displaced in the prior year were 3.3 times more likely to suffer from moderate or severe acute malnutrition. The odds of dying before age one was increased 2.5 times among infants from households in which at least one person was forced to provide labor. The ongoing widespread human rights abuses committed against ethnic civilians and the blockade of international humanitarian access to rural conflict-affected areas of eastern Burma by the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), mean that premature death and disability, particularly as a result of treatable and preventable diseases like malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory infections, will continue. This will not only further devastate the health of communities of eastern Burma but also poses a direct health security threat to Burma’s neighbors, especially Thailand, where the highest rates of malaria occur on the Burma border. Multi-drug resistant malaria, extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and other infectious diseases are growing concerns. The spread of malaria resistant to artemisinin, the most important anti-malarial drug, would be a regional and global disaster. In the absence of state-supported health infrastructure, local community-based organizations are working to improve access to health services in their own communities. These programs currently have a target population of over 376,000 people in eastern Burma and in 2009 treated nearly 40,000 cases of malaria and have vastly increased access to key maternal and child health interventions. However, they continue to be constrained by a lack of resources and ongoing human rights abuses by the Burmese military regime against civilians. In order to fully address the urgent health needs of eastern Burma, the underlying abuses fueling the health crisis need to end."
Language: Burmese, English, Thai
Source/publisher: The Burma Medical Association, National Health and Education Committee, Back Pack Health Worker Team
Format/size: pdf (OBL versions: 5.3MB - English; 4.4MB Thai; 3.5MB-Burmese) . Larger, original versions on BPHWT site
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs11/Diagnosis_critical(th)-red.pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs11/Diagnosis_critical(bu)-red.pdf
http://www.backpackteam.org/?page_id=208
Date of entry/update: 05 September 2011


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2008 - Chapter 8: Deprivation of Livelihood
Date of publication: 23 November 2009
Description/subject: "Once considered to be the rice bowl of Asia, in 2008 Burma continued to languish and suffer under the corrupt military rule of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), Burma’s authoritarian military regime. Burmese citizens faced countless human rights violations aimed at destabilising and destroying livelihoods and building up the military, the junta’s wealth and the wealth of state affiliated businessmen. As a result, the country remained among the worst in the world in terms of inflation, poverty, health and education. While approximately 40 percent of Burma’s annual spending goes toward funding the military, only three percent is spent healthcare.1 (For more information, see Chapter 11: Right to Health). The ruling junta has demonstrated a complete lack of will to implement basic, sound economic principles, and maintains a system that continues to deny many social and human rights to its people. The consequences of such negligence have been dire, bringing the once prosperous nation another year closer to economic and social collapse. In a report released in December of 2008, Burma ranked 135th out of 179 countries on the Human Development Index, down three places from the year before. Moreover, the United Nations estimated that more than a third of Burmese children are malnourished and more than 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Docmentation Unit (HRDU)
Format/size: pdf (886K)
Date of entry/update: 05 December 2009


Title: Improving the Food Security, Nutritional Status and Livelihoods of Vulnerable Populations in Myanmar -- Protracted Relief and Recovery Operations -Myanmar 200032
Date of publication: 14 October 2009
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Myanmar has a population of 52 million divided among 135 ethnic groups; it is a food-surplus country with significant agricultural potential. But unfavourable economic policies, extreme weather, protection issues, poor social cohesion and marginalized population groups adversely affect livelihood opportunities, resulting in inadequate access to food. A recent nationwide household survey revealed that a third of the population live below the poverty line. National prevalence of underweight and stunting among children under 5 is 32 percent. The proposed operation provides food assistance for the most vulnerable and food-insecure populations. It is based on assessments, results monitoring, a WFP mid-term review of protracted relief and recovery operation 100663 and a formulation mission. This operation is designed to respond to shocks and enhance vulnerable households' resilience and coping capacity through food assistance. The objectives are to: > respond to the immediate food needs of people affected by shocks (Strategic Objective 1); > support and re-establish the livelihoods of the most vulnerable and food-insecure populations affected by shocks (Strategic Objective 3); > increase levels of education and maintain and/or improve the nutrition status of targeted women, girls and boys (Strategic Objective 4); and > increase food purchases from small farmers and improve their marketing opportunities while building government and partner capacity to address food insecurity (Strategic Objective 5). The operation is also in line with Millennium Development Goals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. WFP will implement activities directly or through its cooperating partners. It will continue its partnerships with United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations to complement food assistance and maximize the benefit of its activities. Strategies adapted to different contexts will support the hand-over of WFP assistance. As food security improves in operational areas, WFP will scale its assistance down. Increasing national capacity remains a challenge for the sustainability of the hand-over of WFP-supported activities..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: World Food Programme, Myanmar
Format/size: pdf (278K)
Date of entry/update: 10 October 2010


Title: On the Edge of Survival: The Continuing Rat Infestation and Food Crisis in Chin State, Burma
Date of publication: 24 September 2009
Description/subject: Executive Summary" "Since late 2007, the people of Chin State have been struggling with massive food shortages and hunger after the vast bamboo forests that cover the mountainous landscape of Chin State began to flower and die- a process that occurs twice every century. Already struggling for their survival due to decades of severe economic repression and human rights abuses, this natural disaster has left the Chin people on the edge of survival. This report is a follow-up to CHRO’s July 2008 report, “Critical Point: Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma’s Chin State,” which first brought worldwide attention to the dire humanitarian conditions facing the Chin people. This report provides an update on the current conditions in Chin State, the effects of the food crisis, and responses taken to assist people in the affected areas of Chin State. The bamboo of Chin State began to flower in late 2006. Attracted to the fruit produced by the bamboo, the flowering process triggered an explosion in the rat population. After exhausting the fruit supply, the rats turned on people’s crops and food supplies, causing massive food shortages for local villagers dependent on farming for their livelihood and subsistence. In 2008, CHRO estimated that as many as 200 villages were affected by severe food shortages associated with the bamboo flowering, and no less than 100,000 people, or 20 percent of the entire population of Chin State, were in need of immediate food aid. CHRO now believes those figures are much higher. Since CHRO first reported on the crisis, food shortages spread to seven townships in Chin State as well as parts of Sagaing Division. Up to 82 percent of the farmland has been destroyed in certain affected regions of Chin State. In several villages, each and every household is in need of immediate food aid. The consequences of the food crisis are also more apparent now. Over 54 people are known to have died due to the effects of extreme malnourishment and famine-related disease; children comprise the majority of recorded deaths. As access to affected regions is limited, this number is likely to be an underestimate. Disease and malnourishment is widespread, particularly among women, children, and the elderly. Children with little ability to concentrate on studies due to hunger have been forced to drop out of school in order to help their families forage for food: school enrollment rates are down 50 to 60 percent from last year. Several thousand Chin have fled their villages to search for food elsewhere. More than 4,000 have already arrived to the India and Thailand border. Villagers are now struggling with hunger and severe malnutrition due to food shortages in Chin State. Children are particularly at risk of malnourishment. (© CHRO, 2007) Up to 82 percent of the farmland has been destroyed in certain affected regions of Chin State. (© CHRO, 2009) The situation has been made more acute by the ruling military regime’s utter neglect of the suffering, compounded by policies and practices of abuse and repression against Chin civilians. As thousands struggle with hunger, starvation, and disease, the SPDC continues practices of forced labor, extorting excessive amounts of money from villagers, confiscating people’s land and property, in addition to other severe human rights abuses. Such actions have strained the Chin people’s ability to cope with the impacts of the natural disaster. Since the food shortages were first reported by CHRO, efforts have been made to respond to the food crisis. After initially dismissing the situation in Chin State, the WFP conducted a follow-up investigation and eventually acknowledged the existence of food shortages in Chin State. During a recent mission to the area, WFP reported “food consumption *to be+…worse than any other region visited by the Mission.” WFP and their coordinating partners initiated relief programs in early 2009 that continue to be implemented in various affected areas of Chin State. Chin community-based groups in India have also organized relief teams to deliver food aid to remote villages in Chin State. These teams are responsible for delivering over 30,000 kilograms of rice to 54 villages in six townships from May to July 2009 alone. Despite concerted efforts from multiply fronts to assist the affected population, Burma’s military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), continues to do nothing to respond to the food crisis in Chin State. Rather, the SPDC has exacerbated the crisis through sustained human rights abuses and economic repression, further undermining the livelihoods and food security of the Chin people. Forced labor, extortion, and confiscations of land and property continue unabated within the affected areas. SPDC has denied repeated requests for food aid, even as it reports a rice surplus. Local authorities have banned villagers from receiving foreign aid, threatening reprisals against anyone who accepts foreign aid. Government neglect and continued abuse; inadequately supported relief efforts; and pervasive hunger and food shortages have the potential for catastrophic humanitarian consequences. The effects of the bamboo flowering and rat infestation are expected to last three to five years. During the last bamboo cycle, half a century ago, 10,000 to 15,000 people reportedly died due to the associated effects of hunger and disease in neighboring Mizoram State. The people of Chin State today struggling with the same natural disaster have the added burden of military repression, abuse, and neglect. They are on the edge of survival now; but their struggle is far from over."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO)
Format/size: pdf (2.38MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs07/On_The_Edge_of_Survival-2.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2009


Title: Myanmar: Chin State - Rodent Infestation Area (2008-09 Monsoon Crops) (map)
Date of publication: 05 August 2009
Language: English
Source/publisher: MIMU
Format/size: pdf (605K)
Date of entry/update: 11 August 2009


Title: From Golden Triangle to Rubber Belt ? - The Future of Opium Bans in the Kokang and Wa Regions
Date of publication: July 2009
Description/subject: "In the Kokang and Wa regions in northern Burma opium bans have ended over a century of poppy cultivation. The bans have had dramatic consequences for local communities. They depended on opium as a cash crop, to buy food, clothing, and medicines. The bans have driven poppy-growing communities into chronic poverty and have adversely affected their food security. Very few alternatives are being offered to households for their survival... Conclusions & Recommendations: • The opium bans have driven communities into chronic poverty and have adversely affected their food security and access to health care and education. • The Kokang and Wa authorities have promoted Chinese investment in mono-plantations, especially in rubber. These projects are unsustainable and do not significantly profit the population. • Ex-poppy farmers mainly rely on casual labour and collecting Non-Timber Forest Products as alternative source of income. • Current interventions by international NGOs and UN agencies are still limited in scale and can best be described as “emer-gency responses”. • If the many challenges to achieving viable legal livelihoods in the Kokang and Wa regions are not addressed, the reductions in opium cultivation are unlikely to be sustainable. The Kokang and Wa cease-fire groups have implemented these bans following international pressure, especially from neighbouring China. In return, they hope to gain international political recognition and aid to develop their impoverished and war-torn regions. The Kokang and Wa authorities have been unable to provide alternative sources of income for ex-poppy farmers. Instead they have promoted Chinese invest-ment in monoplantations, especially in rubber. These projects have created many undesired effects and do not significantly profit the population. The Burmese military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has also been unwilling and unable to provide assistance. The international community has provided emergency aid through inter-national NGOs and UN agencies. However, current levels of support are insufficient, and need to be upgraded in order to provide sustainable alternatives for the population. The international community should not abandon former opium-growing communities in the Kokang and Wa regions at this critical time..."
Author/creator: Tom Kramer
Source/publisher: Transnational Insititute (Drug Policy Briefing Nr 29)
Format/size: pdf (217K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.tni.org/briefing/golden-triangle-rubber-belt

http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs07/Golden_Triangle_to_Rubber_Belt.pdf
Date of entry/update: 11 August 2010


Title: Rural Households' Food Security Status and Coping Strategies to Food Insecurity in Myanmar
Date of publication: February 2009
Description/subject: "...This study will examine the food (rice) availability at the national level using the official and FAO data. Second, a case study in the rice deficit region (Dry Zone) will present the characteristics and food security status of the farm and non-farm rural households (landless) and the determinants of food security. The Dry Zone was chosen to study because the EC & FAO (2007) classified this region as the most vulnerable area of the country. Furthermore, the FAO projected that the Net Primary Production would be decreased significantly in the Dry Zone in the next two decades. It is essential to collect the primary and secondary data on food availability, access, stability and utilization for understanding the current reality of food security at both macro and micro level... Objectives of the Study: > To assess the food (rice) availability at the national level by using indicators of trend of production index, growth rate of sown area, production and yield, average availability of rice, average per capita rice consumption, rice surplus, dietary energy supply of rice, share of food expenditure in total budget, self-sufficiency ratio, trends in domestic prices of rice and the estimated effects of the Nargis cyclone on rice self-sufficiency. > To investigate the rural household's access to food in terms of human capital, food production, household income, asset ownership, and income diversification of farm and non-farm (landless) households. > To examine the farm and non-farm household's food security status by applying the national food poverty line and the index of coping strategies method along with some indicators such as food share in the household budget, percentage of food expenditure in the total household income, and nutrition security indicators of access to safe drinking water, sanitation, diseases, and number of children death.
Author/creator: Dolly Kyaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (V.R.F. Series No. 444)
Format/size: pdf (656K)
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2009


Title: FAO/WFP CROP AND FOOD SECURITY ASSESSMENT MISSION TO MYANMAR: SPECIAL REPORT
Date of publication: 22 January 2009
Description/subject: Mission Highlights: • During the 2008 monsoon season, agricultural production suffered a significant decline in areas severely affected by Cyclone Nargis, as a result of poor quality seeds, salinity and iron toxicity, lack of agricultural labour and draught animals. Compared to the previous year, average paddy production is estimated to have decreased by 32 percent in 7 affected townships in the Ayeyarwady Division and by 35 percent in 3 affected townships of Yangon Division. At the divisional level, 2008 monsoon paddy output was down by 13 percent in Ayeyarwady, and 9 percent in Yangon. • Overall, aggretate food production in Myanmar is satisfactory, with positive outputs expected in most states/divisions, reflecting favourable weather and increasing use of F1 and HYV rice seeds. The Mission forecasts a 2008/09 (2008 monsoon and 2009 summer) cereal output of 21 million tonnes (rice at 19.8 million tonnes, maize at 1.11 million tonnes, and wheat at 0.147 million tonnes), 3.2 percent below the previous year, but approximately 10 percent above the five-year average. Cereal exports are expected to be high, with estimated rice exports of 477 000 tonnes and maize exports of 159 000 tonnes conversely, up to 64 000 tonnes of wheat are expected to be imported. • The cyclone-related damage to the livestock and fishing sectors in the Ayeyarwady Delta will continue to affect food supply and income generation in 2008/09. • Rats have damaged 685 hectares of rice and 400 hectares of maize in 121 villages of Chin State;localized food insecurity in these villages is expected. • Despite the increase in international rice prices, paddy prices in Myanmar remained low in 2008 due to domestic market and trade barriers. These low prices, combined with the rising cost of fertilizer and other major inputs, have significantly reduced farmers’ incentives profits, and may have negatively impacted agricultural productivity and the country’s agricultural exports. • The Mission received reports of high levels of malnutrition in northern Rakhine State and recommends that a joint UNICEF and WFP food security and nutrition survey be conducted to verify these reports and to plan appropriate interventions, if needed. • In areas with high percentages of food insecure and vulnerable populations, defined as people living below the food poverty line, baseline surveys are required to measure food security, vulnerability, and nutrition, and plan appropriate interventions. Chin and Rakhine States are of the highest priority for baseline surveys. • There are more than 5 million people below the food poverty line in Myanmar. States/divisions which the Mission found to be a priority for emergency food assistance are: cyclone-affected areas of Ayeyarwady Division (85 000 tonnes); Chin State (23 000 tonnes), particularly those areas affected by the rat infestation; Rakhine State (15 000 tonnes), particularly the north of the State; Kachin State (8 300 tonnes); north Shan State (20 200 tonnes); east Shan State (7 000 tonnes); and Magwe Division (27 500 tonnes). Most of the food commodities can be procured locally, with only a limited requirement for imported food aid. • The Mission recommends the following agricultural assistance in cyclone-affected Ayeyarwady and Yangon Divisions: distribution of seeds for the coming summer and next monsoon planting seasons; distribution of draught animals adapted to local climatic conditions; distribution of other livestock for increased meat availability; distribution of hand tractors with training on their usage and maintenance; distribution of fishing equipment; re-establishment of ice production plants; and training in boat-building, net-making and on drafting of fishery laws. • The Mission recommends the following actions in regard to national food policies: set up a market information and food security warning system; develop balanced food production and trade policies for both producers and consumers; remove domestic market/trade barriers; and improve market integration.
Author/creator: Cheng Fang, Maung Mar, Aye Mon, Thanda Kyi, Bernard Cartella, Jan Delbaere, Michael Sheinkman, Nang Seng Aye, Aaron Charlop-Powers, Siddharth Krishnaswamy, Raul Varela
Language: English
Source/publisher: FAO, WFP
Format/size: pdf (437K)
Date of entry/update: 22 September 2010


Title: Assessment of the Myanmar Agricultural Economy
Date of publication: January 2009
Description/subject: Overview: "During two weeks in January 2009 a team from the Asia Programs unit of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Institute, International Development Enterprises (IDE), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of the Union of Myanmar conducted a humanitarian assessment of food production and the agricultural economy in Myanmar. We focused on paddy production, because rice is the country’s staple crop. Based on fieldwork in cyclone-affected areas of the Ayeyarwady River Delta and in Upper Myanmar, we conclude that paddy output is likely to drop in 2009, potentially creating a food shortage by the third quarter. Our estimates are based on imperfect data, and this scenario may not materialize, but the avoidance of a food shortage this year would represent a temporary reprieve, not a recovery. Myanmar’s rural sector is stretched to the breaking point and the natural resilience that has sustained it is leaching away. This paper recommends a set of interventions to avert this looming crisis: 1) an increase in credit for farmers and other participants in the rice economy including traders and millers, 2) steps to increase the farm gate price of paddy in order to create an incentive for farmers to produce more paddy, and 3) a program to finance small-scale village infrastructure projects to increase demand for wage labor for the rural poor who are most at risk. This paper proceeds as follows. Section I describes the study’s rationale and methodology. Section II presents the research team’s key findings. Section III offers an analytical framework for considering how and why food markets fail. The next two sections consider the implications of our finding, examining income loss, crop production, and land concerns. Section VI recommends a three-pronged policy response. Section VII concludes by considering the distinction between humanitarian responses and development strategy. Appendix I discusses Myanmar’s likely actual GDP growth rate. Appendix II summarizes the policy options available to the government in the face of continued deterioration of conditions in rural areas."
Author/creator: David Dapice, Tom Vallely, Ben Wilkinson
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Development Enterprises
Format/size: pdf (177.13 KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ash.harvard.edu/content/download/1201/26734/version/1/file/myanmar.pdf
Date of entry/update: 01 September 2010


Title: Food Security and National Disaster
Date of publication: 10 December 2008
Author/creator: Dr Toe Aung, Director-General, Department of Agricultural Research [Myanmar]
Language: English
Source/publisher: UNESCAP
Format/size: Powerpoint presentation
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2009


Title: Food Security and Natural Disasters: [Myanmar] Country Status Paper
Date of publication: 10 December 2008
Description/subject: "Myanmar has a total land area of 676,577 sq km with a population of 57.50 million. Total net sown area is 11.67 ml ha with the cropping intensity of 157.1%. Forest cover, 33.44 ml ha accounted for nearly half of Myanmar's land area. Presently, only 60% of the 17.19 ml ha classified for agricultural production is being exploited. Myanmar has a predominantly agricultural economy and agriculture sector contributed 45% of GDP, 11% of export earning and employed 63% of its labour force..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: UNESCAP
Format/size: pdf (35K)
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2009


Title: Food Security Profile WA Special Region
Date of publication: November 2008
Description/subject: This Report summarizes the findings of the Food Security Profiling assessment carried out across the Wa area in September 2008.
Language: English
Source/publisher: World Food Programme (WFP)
Format/size: pdf (364K)
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2009


Title: Critical Point - Food Scarcity and Hunger in Burma’s Chin State _ 2008 (Special Reports)
Date of publication: July 2008
Description/subject: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: "The military regime of Burma has been consistent in their inability and unwillingness to protect and provide for the people of Burma. Burma’s human rights record provides testimony of decades of widespread violations and abuses perpetrated largely at the hands of Burma’s military rulers and their agents against the Burmese people. Dissent is regularly silenced and opponents brutalized. In a country once known as the “rice-bowl of Asia,” Burma is now one of the poorest countries of Asia due to steady economic deterioration driven by the regime’s mismanagement. Many in Burma live without access to proper schools, healthcare facilities, reliable electricity, safe drinking water, and stable food supplies. Cowed by policies of extreme oppression and tactics of intimidation, life for much of the population in Burma is a struggle for daily survival. Add to that a natural disaster- and survival in Burma reaches a critical point. Western Burma’s Chin State is at such a point. Since 2006, the region has been plagued by a severe food crisis following a steep reduction in the local harvest and food production. The year 2006 marked the beginning of a new cycle of bamboo flowering, which occurs about every 50 years in the region, triggering an explosion in the population of rats and resulting in the destruction of crops. This has caused a severe shortage of food for local communities primarily dependent on subsistence farming through shifting cultivation. The phenomenon has been documented three times since 1862, and each past event ended in a disastrous famine for the communities in the area. Compounding the impending food crisis in Chin State due to the bamboo flowering is the continuation of severe human rights violations and repressive economic policies of the military regime, which serve to further undermine the livelihoods and food security of the Chin people. The use of unpaid civilian forced labour is widespread throughout Chin State, which consumes the time and energy of local farmers and reduces their crop yields. The regime also forcibly orders farmers to substitute their staple crops for other cash crops, and has confiscated thousands of acres of farmland from local farmers for tea and jatropha plantations. Meanwhile, arbitrary taxes and mandatory “donations” collected from Chin households by the Burmese authorities total up to as much 200,000 Kyats a year in major towns.2 This includes the unofficial collection of money from the Chin public by officials in various government departments at the local level to support such programs as tea and bio-fuel plantations; and extortion and confiscation of money, properties, and livestock by military units stationed at 33 locations across the state. The rising cost of living and skyrocketing food prices is also adding to the already dire humanitarian situation in Chin State. In the last four years, the price of rice has quintupled from 6,000 Kyats a bag in 2004 to as much as 30,000 Kyats today, an amount equivalent to the monthly salary of entry level public servants. The humanitarian consequences stemming from the dying bamboo and exacerbated by conditions imposed by the regime are enormous, and there are clear indications that unless urgent action is taken to address the crisis, the situation could soon turn into a large-scale catastrophe affecting all parts of Chin State. The hardest hit areas are in the southern townships of Matupi and Paletwa where bamboo grows heavily, but reports suggest that severe food shortages are a state-wide phenomenon with many villages in the northern townships of Tonzang and Thantlang, for example, having already run out of food supplies. Based on the latest field surveys conducted in the affected areas, Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) estimates that as many as 200 villages may be directly affected by severe food shortages associated with the bamboo flowering, and no less than 100, 000 people or 20 percent of the entire population of Chin State may be in need of immediate food aid.3 Food scarcity is more severe in remote areas, where families are being reduced to one meal a day or have nothing left to eat at all. CHRO recently visited four border villages in India’s Mizoram State where it found 93 families from 22 villages in Paletwa Township, Chin State who fled across the border in search of food. To date, Burma’s State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has done nothing positive to counter the food scarcity, nor has the SPDC provided any kind of help to communities affected by the food crisis. Repeated requests by affected communities for food aid were denied, even as 100,000 metric tonnes of rice was exported to Sri Lanka.4 Rather, Burma Army soldiers have seized food aid donated by private donors and church groups.5 In contrast to the situation in Burma, India’s Mizoram and Manipur States, both adjacent to Chin State, are facing a similar food crisis related to the bamboo flowering, and have received millions of dollars in aid from the central government as well as international aid agencies, including USAID of the United States government, to support emergency programs to combat and manage the food crisis.6 In early May, when Cyclone Nargis ripped through lower Burma and the Irrawaddy delta destroying entire regions of land and leaving thousands homeless, hungry, and helpless, the regime clearly demonstrated their complete indifference to the plight of the Burmese people. In response to this natural disaster, they did shamefully little to ease the suffering of the victims and much to hamper relief efforts. As a result, the people of Burma paid a heavy price in the loss of life and continue to struggle under a regime that fails to protect or provide for its people. As another natural disaster unfolds in western Burma without hope of internal protections or provisions, the Chin people, like the cyclone victims, will be sure to pay a heavy toll unless action is taken immediately. The critical point for action is now."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO)
Format/size: pdf (731K, 640K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.chro.ca/publications/special-reports.html
Date of entry/update: 09 July 2008


Title: Labor Contracts, Incentives, and Food Security in Rural Myanmar
Date of publication: January 2006
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper develops an agency model of contract choice in the hiring of labor and then uses the model to estimate the determinants of contract choice in rural Myanmar. As a salient feature relevant for the agricultural sector in a low income country such as Myanmar, the agency model incorporates considerations of food security and incentive effects. It is shown that when, possibly due to poverty, food considerations are important for employees, employers will prefer a labor contract with wages paid in kind (food) to one with wages paid in cash. At the same time, when output is responsive to workers' effort and labor monitoring is costly, employers will prefer a contract with piecerate wages to one with hourly wages. The case of sharecropping can be understood as a combination of the two: a labor contract with piecerate wages paid in kind. The predictions of the theoretical model are tested using a crosssection dataset collected in rural Myanmar through a sample household survey which was conducted in 2001 and covers diverse agroecological environments. The estimation results are consistent with the theoretical predictions: wages are more likely to be paid in kind when the share of staple food in workers' budget is higher and the farmland on which they produce food themselves is smaller; piecerate wages are more likely to be adopted when work effort is more difficult to monitor and the farming operation requires quick completion... JEL classification codes: J33, Q12, O12. Keywords: contract, incentive, selection, food security, Myanmar.
Author/creator: Takashi Kurosaki
Language: English
Source/publisher: Hitotsubashi University Research Unit for Statistical Analysis in Social Sciences
Format/size: pdf (1.6MB)
Date of entry/update: 22 April 2008


Title: "Health Messenger" Magazine No. 26 -- special issue on Nutrition
Date of publication: December 2004
Description/subject: General Health: Underlying causes of malnutrition -- Why health workers should feel concerned by nutritional issues? Misconceptions Concerning Nutrition: Voices of Community Health Educators and TBAs along the Thai-Burmese Border; Micronutrients: The Hidden Hunger; Iron Deficiency Anaemia; The Vicious Circle of Malnutrition and Infection; Treatment: IDENTIFYING MALNUTRITION; MANAGEMENT OF ACUTE SEVERE MALNUTRITION; GROWTH MONITORING: THE BEST PREVENTION; Fortified Flour for Refugees living in the camp; Making Blended Flour at Local Level; The example of MISOLA Flour in Africa. Health Education: Pregnancy and Nutrition; Breastfeeding; WHEN RICE SOUP IS NOT ENOUGH: First Foods - the Key to Optimal Growth and Development; BUILDING A BALANCED DIET FOR GOOD HEALTH; From the Field: How Sanetun became a malnourished child?
Language: Burmese, English
Source/publisher: Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI)
Format/size: pdf (5.2MB)
Date of entry/update: 01 July 2007


Title: Promoting household food and nutrition security in Myanmar
Date of publication: 2001
Description/subject: "Myanmar has a policy of promoting food and nutrition security and, at the national level, food production is more than that required to meet the country’s needs. Nevertheless, food and nutrition surveillance has revealed that malnutrition still exists in the country, despite economic growth and national food self-sufficiency. The National Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition, formulated in 1994 and adopted in 1995, accorded priority to household food and nutrition security. Accordingly, in 1996, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Nutrition Centre embarked on a study of household food and nutrition security in Myanmar. A preliminary situation analysis revealed that transitional changes in the economic, demographic and social sectors have driven dramatic changes in people’s lifestyles, behaviour and practices and that these changes affect food and nutrition security. The present paper explores household and intrahousehold determinants of nutrition problems in Myanmar.".....Results Preliminary descriptive analysis demonstrated more acute malnutrition in the urban area than in the rural area for both the pre- and post-harvest periods. Furthermore, nutritional problems were more acute in both the urban and rural areas during the preharvest period than during the post-harvest period. Urban children consumed fewer calories than rural children during both the pre- and post-harvest times, while children in both rural and urban areas consumed fewer calories during the preharvest period than during the postharvest period, although all the differences were not statistically significant......Keywords: care of the vulnerable, food security, malnutrition, Myanmar, National Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition.
Author/creator: Aye Thwin MPH (NUTRITION), DFs&N, MB, BS
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr (2001) 10(Suppl.): S34–S39
Format/size: pdf (231`K)
Date of entry/update: 25 October 2009


Title: Voice of the Hungry Nation
Date of publication: October 1999
Description/subject: This document presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma. The Tribunal’s work will appeal to all readers interested in human rights and social justice, as well as anyone with a particular interest in Burma. The Asian Human Rights Commission presents this report in order to stimulate discourse on human rights and democratization in Burma and around the world.
Language: English
Source/publisher: People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma
Format/size: English version
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmadebate.org/archives/fall99bttm.html#hungry
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Voice of the Hungry Nation
Date of publication: September 1999
Description/subject: an edited version of a report by the People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma, which was published by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in October 1999.
Author/creator: People's Tribunal on Food Scarcity and Militarization in Burma
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Burma Debate", Vol. VI, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003