Friday, August 18, 2017

US Foreign Agricultural Service opens Myanmar office

The US Foreign Agricultural Service opened an office in Yangon yesterday with the aim of strengthening trade and investment relations between Myanmar and the United States.

The service, which is run by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), will help Myanmar to integrate into the global economy, said FAS administrator Phil Karsting in a statement.

Since democratic reforms began in Myanmar, the US has attempted to balance its targeted sanctions program with its support for the wider economy.

“USDA is committed to supporting inclusive economic growth that helps Myanmar further integrate into the global economy and deliver tangible economic benefits to the people of this country,” Mr Karsting said.

U Myo Tint Htun, deputy secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation’s office, said yesterday that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had been collaborating to develop Myanmar’s agriculture sector, particularly in the areas of technical help and policy.

“USAID is working with our local organisations to draw up policy for agriculture and irrigation. I hope that the FAS will also collaborate on water saving and flood protection which are crucial in Myanmar,” he said.

U Myo Tint Htun said farmers need to change their cultivation techniques due to the severe impact of climate change on Myanmar, and that he welcomed the assistance of the FAS, though it has no agreement or proposal of collaboration with the ministry, yet.

The FAS works with USAID and other partners to help improve food security in developing countries.

Myanmar is a growing market for America’s food and agricultural products. In fiscal year 2014, US agricultural exports to Myanmar reached a record US$15.3 million, up 24 percent from the previous year, according to US government data.