NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR (29 November 2016) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $75 million loan to help strengthen Myanmar’s agriculture production and value chain development by improving and modernizing irrigation systems in three regions of the country’s central dry zone (CDZ).

The Global Environment Facility is also providing a $4.79 million technical assistance grant to help increase rural productivity, and improve integrated natural resources management in forest reserves and permanent public forests in the CDZ. The grant will be administered by ADB. Parallel to the ADB project,  Agence Française de Développement (AFD) will provide a loan of $27.9 million and extend grant support through the Asian Investment Facility of up to $22.3 million. The cofinancing will increase the project area, through the support of good agricultural practices and by strengthening improved irrigation management and policy support for integrated water resources management. 

“Agriculture plays a big part in Myanmar’s economy, representing almost a third of the country’s gross domestic product,” said Pavit Ramachandran, Senior Environment Specialist at ADB’s Southeast Asia Regional Department. “The project will help Myanmar realize its agriculture potential and play a central role in the country’s inclusive economic growth and development.”

The project will help modernize Myanmar’s agriculture sector, including the support in developing district-wide agriculture value chains and improving irrigation systems in the Magway, Sagaing, and Mandalay regions. The irrigation system rehabilitation and modernization component will cover about 20,000 hectares (ha) of land and benefit about 24,000 households.

Myanmar has high agriculture potential. Only 73% of the country’s 18.2 million ha of arable land are currently cultivated, of which only 16% are irrigated with the rest rain-fed. The project will help Myanmar boost agriculture as a significant sector in its bid to address poverty, food security, and malnutrition.

The total cost of the project is $83.23 million, with the government contributing $3.44 million. The expected project completion date is end 2023.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.

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