Myanmar

Monitoring the agri-food system in Myanmar: Maize farmers – Monsoon season phone surveys

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To understand the effects of recent economic and political disruptions on Myanmar’s maize farmers during the monsoon season, we conducted two telephone surveys with 1,178 farmers in southern Shan and northern Kayah in July and September 2021 with recall data collected for the 2020 and 2019 monsoon seasons for comparisons.

Key Findings

  • There were widespread disruptions throughout the 2021 monsoon season: 11 percent of respondents were displaced by violence in July, and most farmers had had enforced transportation restrictions in their village tracts (58 percent) and their townships (84 percent). Seventy percent of farmers expect these restrictions to affect their monsoon marketing.

  • Two-thirds of respondents received farm credit for inputs in the 2021 monsoon season, a reported increase of 3 percentage points relative to 2020, and average credit values increased slightly. Most credit was provided by traders (27 percent receiving), which may be unique to maize production as there are broader credit declines in other parts of the country and maize prices have increased in 2021.
    Additionally, exports to Thailand have been robust and higher than in 2020.

  • High fertilizer prices will likely lead to a decline in application rates as 63 percent of farmers reported reduced input use, which will negatively affect yields.

  • Median reported maize farm sizes fell by one acre in 2021 relative to 2020, though average maize acreages were stable. Our data show several large farms with stable acreages, while smaller farmers reported declines in maize area planted.

  • Pest incidence rates (72 percent reporting problems), especially for fall armyworm (45 percent), were high in July, posing another threat to production.

  • There was a decline in reported access to formal extension services in 2021 relative to 2020, particularly for information provided by input companies and government extension agents. Farmers increasingly turned to neighbors for agricultural advice.

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