Oct 19, 2011

Myanmar strives for rural development

Myanmar is striving for rural development as part of its efforts to alleviate poverty and a meeting of the related work committee, headed by Vice President Dr. Sai Mauk Kham, has been underway in Nay Pyi Taw to address the issue.

A wide-ranging survey of livelihood of household, jointly conducted by Myanmar's Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) showed that although poverty rate of the country decreased from 32 percent to 26 percent, the gap between urban and rural areas is still widened as pointed out.

Myanmar has targeted to reduce the poverty rate down to 16 percent in 2015 in a bid to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals, narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas.

As rural development and poverty alleviation tasks are to be carried out up to December 2015, it was stressed that 10 work programs for poverty alleviation are to be employed as work guidelines.

"Only with extensive cultivation of crops which are favorable to regional climates, can rural development and poverty alleviation be realized," the vice president maintained, emphasizing the importance to implement One Village One Product program and establish village-based industries that can generate more income for local folks who are dealing with conventional farm activities.

He also stressed development of micro-credit scheme for vendors, hawkers and daily-waged workers as well as development of cooperatives societies to gain confidence from the people.

Other calls include development of socio-economic life of rural people with priority given to education, health, transportation, safe drinking water and irrigation.

Moreover, production of energy from biogas and environmental conservation were also encouraged.

Myanmar has started its poverty alleviation efforts with rural areas in some townships across the country with regional work committees at different level being set up for the implementation.

Model farms are being projected to be established to speed up the process of mechanized farming along with integrated farms and micro producing enterprises village-wise, providing micro finance for private micro finance institutions, to improve the socio- economic status of the rural people.

Managable production of energy such as bio-gas and solar energy for adequate energy supply to rural areas, prevention of deforestation and afforestation of bare land for environmental conservation are also covered by the tasks.

Myanmar's new government has formed the Central Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation to monitor tasks for rural development and poverty alleviation and the committee is now in pursuant of eight tasks to achieve the goal which are development of agricultural production, rural productivity and cottage industries, micro saving and credit enterprises, rural socio-economy, rural energy and environmental conservation.

Emphasis has been placed on formation of rural cooperative societies with bottom-up initiative at region or state level to organize residents to form cooperative societies, rather than forming them perfunctorily.

In the efforts, private companies, domestic and international non-governmental organizations, and social organizations are being urged to cooperate with the government.

Of Myanmar's total population of about 60 million, 70 percent live in rural areas.

The government said that it is heading for its fifth five-year plan for national economic development, setting an annual target of 10.5 percent economic growth for the fiscal year 2011-12 which started in April.

Source: Xinhua