The fisheries sector in Myanmar is vital for national food security, income generation and export earnings. It is estimated that aquaculture and fisheries directly employ more than 3 million people and that between 12 and 15 million people benefit from the sector. Fish products are the most important sources of animal protein in the country. Fisheries development in Myanmar faces three constraints: the lack of a comprehensive information base on fisheries, the lack of proven management approaches and technologies and the limited technical capacity to implement fisheries projects.

Food systems in Myanmar have the potential to be highly productive and support the demands of a growing population. This project aims to promote agricultural productivity and nutrition and to enhance livelihoods through an improved policy environment. New policies that enhance agricultural productivity and efficiency in Myanmar are hampered by a lack of research into the country’s food system.

Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) is an valuable resource for millions of people in the Bay of Bengal, but its breeding and migratory habits remain largely unknown. Identifying the breeding sites and main inland migration routes of hilsa is important for management and the sustainability of the resource. The project fills a knowledge gap about hilsa and undertakes the identification of the main spawning grounds in the Ayeyarwady Delta and determines the extent of its migration along the Ayeyarwady River.

The MYFC project aims to introduce low cost polyculture systems with small indigenous species of fish to increase incomes, food security and nutrition for the resource-poor, focusing on women and children. WorldFish will work with four government and NGO partners to build technical capacity through the Fisheries Research and Development Network. The project will target four townships in Ayeyarwady Delta and four townships in the central dry zone.

MYNutrition aims to adapt and scale up the innovative integrated aquaculture and fisheries/agriculture-nutrition linkages developed under the IFAD-funded Small Fish and Nutrition project in northwest rural Myanmar from 2010 to 2013. The project will engage men and women in the homestead production of traditional carp and micronutrient-rich small fish species and vegetables, and increase production of indigenous fish (mostly small-sized) through community-based sustainable wetlands management and enhanced stocking.

More than half of the land base in many regions, including Southeast Asia, is constrained by poor soil quality, and 12 million additional hectares of land are degraded annually, where 20 million tons of grain could have been grown instead. The project promotes the use sustainable land management (SLM) practices that help close yield gaps and enhance the resilience of land resources and communities that depend on them while avoiding further degradation.

Rice and fish are key elements of the diet and major agricultural production sectors in Myanmar. Rice-fish systems (RFSs) encompass a spectrum of farming and fishing practices, from traditional capture of fish in rice-dominated landscapes through to controlled farming of fish in rice fields. Rice farming covers approximately 8 million ha and involves more than 5 million rural households. Myanmar governments of the recent past favored “command and control” based policies that discouraged rice farmers from diversification and making production decisions based on market demand.

The objective of this project is to design a cost-effective, scientifically researched and participatory “incentive-based” hilsa fishery management mechanism for Myanmar. The project will employ the ecosystem-based approach (EbA) in its information gathering, analysis, and decision-making and management objectives.

Outcomes:

In developing countries, small-scale fisheries (SSF) are a vital source of food, nutrition and income. But pressures from within and external to SSFsuch as overharvesting, infrastructure development and inadequate policy recognitionthreaten their sustainability and equitable distribution of benefits.