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Abstract

After nearly three decades of isolation from the world economy, Myanmar is moving forward with political and economic reforms. As a result of this political and economic transformation Myanmar has tremendous opportunities for growth. Although agriculture accounts for the largest share of employment in Myanmar, its contribution to GDP is small. Myanmar’s agriculture value chains are underdeveloped; smallholder capacity is low and investment in the agriculture sector has been limited. At the same time, Myanmar’s geographic position and climate make agriculture a potential driver for growth and development. In particular, Myanmar is well positioned to become a large exporter of rubber. Large parts of the high rainfall areas in eastern and southeastern Myanmar are well-suited for rubber cultivation. Following a gradual liberalization of the agriculture sector in the 1990s and a surge in rubber prices in international markets in the2000s, there was a surge in smallholder investment. Although yields remain low, they have risen substantially over the past two decades.

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