The role of agroforestry in the future of Myanmar


Photo credit: Agroforestry World

Agroforestry has a long history in Myanmar but capacity of farmers and government agencies needs building in order to maximise potential. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson

A new hope for agroforestry in Myanmar

The Government of Myanmar is enthusiastic about the role of agroforestry in the future of the newly-democratic nation


Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a newly democratic country. Centuries before, this country was rich in culture, natural resources and competent citizens, the latter likely influenced by the colonial government of Britain. Visiting the former capital, Yangon, in the rainy season gives you a sense of how green the city is, with the intense monsoon rains making you appreciate why the citizens wear sandals.

After decades of military rule, everything seemed to be possible when the country held a general election in 2015. Its citizens, especially the younger generation, seemed to beam with hope for a bright and prosperous future, as the country had been economically far behind neighbouring Southeast Asian countries. Being sandwiched between the two giants of Asia—China and India—can, in my opinion, be both a blessing and a curse, as the country wants to stand on its own feet but still relies heavily on foreign investment.

The former military government forced universities to be scattered all over the country to prevent students from staging protests in the former capital. About 30 minutes from the current capital, Nay Pyi Daw, more than 370 km north of Yangon, there are three universities: Yezin Agricultural University; Yezin University of Forestry; and the University of Veterinary Science, Yezin. The current political situation should allow clever minds in these universities to blossom and help steer the country in the right direction.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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