Advancing food science, culinary & agrotechnology | MY • SG
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signed an advisory agreement with Myanmar’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MoALI) today to support its efforts with boosting sector productivity, quality and skill development. The technical assistance program is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom and the Government of Japan.
The country’s agricultural sector is a key pillar of the economy and provides employment to about 53 percent of the labor force and is a source of livelihood for about 70 percent of the rural population. Through this agreement, IFC’s technical assistance will support the government’s objective of increasing the productivity, market access and competitiveness of the agricultural sector by improving the provision of quality inputs to farmers. As a driver of growth and innovation, the private sector will play a significant role in assuring quality seeds, fertilizer and crop protection products reach farmers efficiently. A strong balance between efficient markets and effective regulation is needed along with an improved way of working together for the government and private sector.
“IFC’s emphasis on improving the use of agricultural inputs and strengthening quality standards of agricultural products is aligned with MoALI’s mission. I am confident that this project will be supportive to our agriculture sector development and fulfill our vision for the future,” said Dr. Aung Thu, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.
IFC will also assist with establishing quality standards for key export commodities, such as rice, and local food processing, while helping farmers to develop skills related to the use of agricultural inputs and improved quality standards. In July, IFC and MoALI held a one-day workshop in Nyuang Shwe, which brought together over 200 tomato farmers to discuss Good Agricultural Practices and the importance of improving and reducing the use of chemicals on their floating farms to protect Inle Lake.
“We believe that improved access to quality agricultural inputs will elevate industry productivity and quality, while also resulting in raised incomes and job creation along the value chain,” said Vivek Pathak, IFC Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific. “By supporting Myanmar’s agricultural development, we hope to help create potential markets for agricultural products through exports.”
As a member of the World Bank Group, IFC has been a the forefront of driving agriculture sector reforms in recent years across Asia to unlock the door for farmers and rural communities to access relevant inputs, knowledge, skills and finance to improve their livelihoods in a sustainable manner. With agribusiness as a strategic pillar of IFC’s work in Myanmar, we are supporting local firms such as the Awba Group to increase the production of good-quality crop protection products and improve access to agri-lending products for farmers.
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Appreciating wild and exotic type mushrooms is an age-old gastronomical tradition in Europe, where dozens of varieties have been made available to the consumers; people know precisely what they are looking for. In the land of continental cooking, culinary connoisseurs prize mushrooms based on their rarity and chefs love pairing mushrooms to foods according to their characteristic flavour. But in Malaysia, for the past ten years or so, mushrooms have pretty much been preserved in cans or dehydrated to extend their shelf life. Possibly the only type of mushroom cultivated commercially here is the oyster mushroom, for it is the tropical mushroom of South East Asian cuisine.
Much of today’s raw seafood products are acquired locally today thanks to our thriving fishing communities along the coast which gives us a real crave for a seafood cuisine most times like the steamboat truck parking along the side of the road giving consumers a real taste of the marine delicacy. However it may require most business owners to store the raw seafood products in a proper way to maintain its freshness.
Rice is rich in complex carbohydrate. The word carbohydrate itself is blasphemous to most diet enthusiasts. Is this a misconception? Carbohydrate supplies energy to fuel the body’s physical demands. What most people do not understand is the differences in rice and how these differences work for the body. There are many different types of rice that are available in the market such as the ever common white rice, brown rice, red rice, black rice, parboiled rice, aged rice, glutinous rice, basmati etc.
Standing against the vast greenness of the glowing rice fields knowing that in a couple of months they will magically turn into sun-kissed fields of gold, one cannot help but to marvel at the magnitude of the beauty. Marvel turns into appreciation when one realizes that on these immense fields lay the starting point for the grains that may eventually land on our plates.
Besides language, culture and clothings, food is also a significant piece in the collective traditions of a community. In the communities of Northern Malaysia: Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Perak, the people are known to utilise a range of spices in crafting their unique cuisines. Many among the cooks of these communities choose to combine spices from various origins – India, the Middle East, with slight touches of colourful Thailand. Because of this, the use of lemongrass, kaffir lime, dessicated coconut, spice seeds and the like are regarded as necessity rather than choice. The North is also widely known and discussed as a food paradise in Malaysia, in large part due to the significance and specialty of its cuisine. Penangites in particular employ the use of ghee and Indian spices in their curries. In Kedah, Perlis and Perak, however, the paradigm shifts in favour of desiccated coconut. Albeit little and rather unremarkable, these little nuances of flavour, when combined in blends become nothing short of culinary magic, turning each and every Northern dish into a unique dining experience in a class of its own.