The Central Dry Zone (CDZ) region, straddling large parts of Mandalay, Magway and lower Sagaing divisions, is one of the most food insecure, water-stressed, climate sensitive and natural resource poor regions in Myanmar. The CDZ region has the second highest population density in Myanmar but remains one of the least developed. Access and availability of water resources are key determinants of rural poverty with livelihoods largely dependent on the southwest monsoon. Principal crops in the CDZ consist of oil seeds and legumes, chillies, and vegetables grown as rainfed, upland crops during the wet season. Rice cultivation depends on irrigation, even during the monsoon season. Seasonal water shortages caused by low and erratic annual rainfall patterns and sandy and fragile soils that are at high risk of water and wind erosion limit paddy rice cultivation, render rainfed agriculture a high risk endeavor, and contribute to low agricultural production.
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