ASEAN Centre for Cassava Research and Development

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Cassava was introduced into Myanmar in the middle of the 19th century and was first grown in the coastal and river delta regions of the country, where it still grows widely today. Cassava is mainly used for producing starch by small private factories and it is also used as a snack food, flavouring agent (MSG) and as animal feed. No major attention has been given to the crop in the past because of its modest acreage, production and economic importance. However, more recently it is being reconsidered as a crop with some potential, particularly for export. The Root Crops Research Working Group of the Myanmar Agriculture Service. (RCRWG) has been undertaking base-line studies on cassava for some time and is now collaborating with CIAT to develop a short season cultivar that can be incorporated into double cropping schemes for farmers.

Similar to Laos, the transportation infrastructure in Myanmar is still under development and it is likely to be some time before consideration is given to local use of bioethanol. However, also like Laos, Myanmar has easy access to markets in Thailand and China. In 2012 Myanmar had an estimated 48,500 Ha under cassava, yielding 128,866 Hg/Ha and producing 625,000 tonnes (source: FAOSTAT).

The charts are not particularly helpful in forming a clear picture of where the cassava industry is heading in Myanmar.

While there have been marginal increases in the area under cultivation and final production, yields have been declining significantly. While this may be due in part to seasonal factors, yields remain almost half of those achieved by Laos.