On 23 – 28 March a senior delegation from CABI visited Myanmar to implement previously agreed activities, explore opportunities for project development and attend an Asian Development Bank meeting. One of the highlights was the launch of Plantwise in Myanmar, organized by CABI’s centre in Malaysia and the Plant Protection Division of the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MoAI) and other agencies in Myanmar. The Plantwise inception workshop was well attended, and participants were eager to participate in the Plantwise programme.
CABI’s visit came after a cooperation statement was signed in 2013 between CABI and two of its member countries; close neighbours, China and Myanmar. This solidified partnerships and was an important milestone in relations. Through this, CABI facilitated cross-partner cooperation in knowledge sharing, technology transfer and capacity building.
The group also met with CABI’s Liaison Officer and other senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MoAI), the private sector and NGOs as well as international organizations such as IRRI, and visited research facilities of Yezin Agricultural University and the Department of Agricultural Research, MoAI.
The group participated in the Asian Development Bank’s 11th Annual Meeting of the Greater Mekong Sub-region's (GMS) Working Group on Agriculture (WGA), and its Marketplace and Joint Knowledge Event on 25 – 26 March. Here, they aimed to explore project opportunities to assist Myanmar and other countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region in their efforts to enhance food security and food safety, and promote trade and market access, and development.
CABI’s Liaison Officer for Myanmar, U Hla Kyaw, Director General of the Department of Agricultural Planning (DAP) at MoAI, U Aung Hlaing, Deputy Director General and other senior officials at DAP, met with CABI’s Dr Loke Wai Hong, Regional Director for South East Asia and Dr Qiaoqiao Zhang, Director of Memberships who informed them on the progress of two EuropeAid funded projects on rice and maize, the launch of Plantwise in Myanmar, and the assistance provided to Yezin Agriculture University. CABI’s Dr Loke and Dr Zhang also outlined the future plans and project development activities. They also encouraged further use of certain membership benefits such as free microbial identification along with free access to many of CABI’s information products which is already taken advantage of.
“Myanmar is changing; we are opening up but we urgently need assistance from the international community and organizations like CABI. We are therefore grateful that CABI is expanding its operations in the country and facilitating technology transfer and sharing both their knowledge, and that from their member countries. Our department, responsible for international cooperation for the Ministry, is happy to facilitate and coordinate internal processes to enable greater collaboration”, says U Hla Kyaw.