"Can Pulse Improve Myanmar Rural Economy?- Changes of Income Distribution in a Green gram Producing Area in Lower Myanmar - "

Ikuko Okamoto
16:00-18:00, September 29 (Thu), 2005
C307, 3rd floor, Common bldg.

The dramatic increase of the pulse production led by export demand is viewed as the most significant success in Myanmar agricultural sector in the 1990s. However, little is known about the actual impact of the pulse production on the state of the rural economy. Therefore, this study aims to clarify how and to what extent the pulse growth has succeeded in improving the rural economy, based on the field surveys conducted in a major green gram producing area in Lower Myanmar.

The specific points to be discussed are the following. 1) The beneficiaries from the pulse growth among the major economic actors; farmers, agricultural laborers and traders, 2) the major factors that determine the development process and the beneficiaries, 3) the nature of the development and the role of the government in the process.

This study finds that pulse has increased the income of farmers and traders quite dramatically. Here, the development of factor markets, namely the tractor rental and credit markets, contributed greatly in relaxing the potential technological and financial constraints. And this development of factor markets also provided further income earning opportunities, especially to those bear sufficient capital and credibility. On the contrary, the economic impact of pulse on the agricultural laborers remained at minimum. The labor saving nature of production and marketing as well as their lack of capital and credibility was the decisive reasons behind it.

And it is concluded that this development was not necessarily intended by the government as a part of transition to a market oriented policy. Rather it was a “vent of surplus” type of self-sustaining development, achieved by utilizing the untapped recourses (land and labor) left from the Socialist period. And its consequence was the revitalization the rural economy, while bringing deterioration of the income distribution at the same time.

*The lecture will be given in Japanese.

Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Koichi Fujita

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