Challenges facing food security and agriculture
Agriculture is a source of livelihoods for nearly 70 percent of the population of Myanmar. The ongoing crisis is reversing hard-won agricultural development gains and posing an enormous threat to the livelihoods and food security of agriculture-dependent communities. Intense violence is triggering new waves of population displacement and disrupting livelihoods across the food supply chain. In 2021, 24 percent of farmers reduced the size of their planted areas and 18 percent reported a reduction in expected harvest. Moreover, while the incomes of smallholder farmers continue to decline, the cost of production inputs continue to rise. For example, the cost of fertilizers is currently 3.6 times higher than in 2019 and high-quality seeds are increasingly becoming unavailable or unaffordable. As a result, food production is declining and food prices are soaring, leading to unprecedented and critical levels of food insecurity with 89 percent of households adopting at least one negative coping mechanism. Against this backdrop, protecting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers to enable them to feed themselves and their communities is a frontline humanitarian response. Without urgent and scaled up interventions to protect agricultural livelihoods, the food security crisis will inevitably deteriorate further and the numbers of people who resort to negative coping mechanisms and/or rely on food aid for their survival will continue to grow.
In collaboration with its local and international partners, FAO is responding to the crisis through providing smallholder farmers across Myanmar with access to fertilizers and high-quality seeds along with the implementation of cash-based interventions. Furthermore, FAO will provide livestock keeping households with animal feed to enable them to keep their livestock assets alive, healthy and productive. FAO is also focusing on enhancing the technical knowledge and skills of community-based service providers, and on promoting healthy diets among highly vulnerable groups.