Wednesday, December 4, 2019

SDC, IRRI work with Myanmar for an agroecological transition towards sustainable food systems

4 December 2019 - A diverse and rapidly-changing agricultural economy, Myanmar offers a unique opportunity to examine how landscape and food system development can contribute to a healthy environment and well-nourished people.

Agriculture in Myanmar is presently at a crossroads, for either intensifying production or managing many unknowns to ensure environmental sustainability. This is not a simple binary choice, as many implications and trade-offs have to be considered to understand what is possible given environmental and human aspects.

Addressing the imperative to balance a healthy planet with well-nourished populations, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is working with the Myanmar Department of Agriculture (DoA), Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), and Environmental Conservation Department (ECD), to collaborate on a new initiative called Co-Designing Myanmar’s Pathways for Agroecological Transition towards Sustainable Food System (CoMPASS).

The ongoing collaboration of SDC, IRRI, and Myanmar, Closing the Yield Gaps and Reducing Environmental Footprints (CORIGAP), has helped the country to enhance the agriculture sector's contribution to its economic growth. “With this new CoMPASS initiative under the CORIGAP project, we want to reset the focus on the sustainability of food systems and its trade-offs with the environment,” said Dr. Sudhir Yadav, the study leader of CoMPASS and Outcome Theme leader of IRRI’s research program on Developing Environmentally Sustainable Solutions for Rice Systems.

“The diverse agroecological environment of the country has a bearing on agricultural practices, technological choices, and opportunities for a transition to a more sustainable production and healthier diets," said Rica Flor, a social scientist at IRRI. “This study is focused on designing a pathway for an agroecological transition towards sustainable food systems by assessing production systems interventions, institutional policies, and incentives that can be promoted to create synergies between livelihoods and the environment.”

This initiative will also leverage and contribute to strategic collaborations with other stakeholders, such as the existing project Transformation of Rural Landscapes for Sustainable and Nutritious Food, with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WorldFish.
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