OPEC Fund to support development of Myanmar's edible oil sector
US$12.3 million project to be implemented with the technical assistance of FAO
9 November 2006, Rome - Myanmar’s edible oil crop sector will be developed over the next three years with technical assistance from FAO, supported by a loan of US$12.3 million from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). The total budget of the project amounts to US$14 million; the remaining balance will be borne by the government of Myanmar, FAO said today.
The project will increase oilseed production and improve oil processing technologies. It is expected to enhance rural incomes and food security in the country, where some 75 percent of the population lives in rural areas and depends primarily on agriculture for its livelihood. It is described by FAO as one of the largest projects of its kind.
“The goal of this project is to increase the productivity and value of oil crops and their derivatives, while ensuring low cost edible oil supplies for consumers and assuring that sound policies are implemented and institutions are strengthened to develop a sustainable and competitive oil crop sector,” said Geoffrey Mrema, Director of the Agricultural Support Systems Division at FAO.
The project will focus largely on four oil seeds: sesame, groundnut, sunflower and soybean, and on oil palm, and will boost oil crop production by expanding the availability of improved seeds and genetic material to oil crop farmers. Higher crop productivity is expected also through the adoption of improved farming systems, which will be promoted by participatory farm extension approaches, such as the establishment of several demonstration fields and the organization of farmers’ field schools.
The project will also cover the construction of two new oil solvent extraction plants and the upgrading of existing oil processing facilities. The annual average production of vegetable oils, mainly groundnut and sesame oils, in Myanmar is estimated at about 500 000 tonnes. Myanmar also imports an average of 160 000 tonnes per year of palm oil. Improving the efficiency of current oil processing facilities will increase extraction yields and domestic availability of refined edible oils, thus reducing the need for imports, while improving quality and value of both edible oil and oilcake. In addition to these activities, the project will establish national edible oils standards and institutional capacity for edible oil quality control.
FAO will also help the country build its capacity to formulate, implement and monitor policies to promote the sustainable development of the oil crop sector. “The project is a good example of the integrated approach advocated by FAO towards the improved efficiency and competitiveness of agrifood systems,” said Mr Mrema.
Mr. Salah Al-Bazzaz
Media Relations, FAO
(+39)06 570 56328
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