At 211 kg capita-1 y-1, Myanmar has the highest consumption of milled rice in the world. Not unexpectedly, with this level of consumption, rice production is the predominant activity in the national economy, contributing around one-third of the nation's gross domestic product. Hence, increasing rice production is vital to the general development of the economy as well as to food security in the country.
IRRI has collaborated with the Government of Myanmar over the past 25 years to help the country increase rice productivity. There have been five major bilateral collaborations based in Myanmar and numerous projects based at IRRI headquarters in Los Baños (Shrestha et al 2002). This paper reports on an ex post economic impact evaluation of the IRRI-Myanmar collaborative activities, funded mainly by two Canadian agencies, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
Rice area, yield, and production in Myanmar have all increased during the last 4 decades (see figure). From 1975 to 2000, rice production increased from 9.3 million t to 20 million t, an increase of 115% (FAO 2002). This increase is equivalent to a compound growth rate of more than 2.5% y-1 (see table). The increase in production is attributed to a rise in both yield and cropping intensity. From 1976 to 1985, Myanmar achieved a high growth rate in production of 5.6% y-1 despite a slight decline in rice area. During 1986-2000, the growing of a second rice crop in the summer season was the main source of growth in production.