In Myanmar, rice is the most important food crop, while other cereals like sorghum and millets are under-utilized. In the past, most of the farmers in the central dry zone (CDZ) grew sorghum and millet both for food and animal fodder purposes. Nowadays, farmers are less interested in growing these crops as the markets for these varieties are unstable. Hence, the sowing acreage of millet in 2015 was 238,400 Ha and declined to 160,500 Ha in 2019 according to FAO statistics data. Today, in some parts of CDZ, sorghum and millet crops are solely grown for animal fodder purposes. However, from a nutritional and climate-resilient perspective, these crops should be prioritized, especially as they are suitable crops to grow in the CDZ of Myanmar.
According to a study conducted by ICRISAT, there is potential demand for smart food varieties in Tanzania and Myanmar (click here for more information). In Myingyan district’s Oe Bo village (Myanmar), a sensory assessment was conducted regarding millets and pigeon pea crops. The evaluation noted a high acceptance of new recipes such as pigeon pea soup and cooked millet with pigeon pea curry. Furthermore, the results of a feeding program for children under the age of two revealed that alimenting with millets and pigeon pea varieties can, within the short period of three weeks, improve the nutritional levels of children. Moreover, recent market trends focusing on 13 smart foods in Yangon showed there was a high urban acceptance of processed millets and pigeon pea foods.
Hence, SFSA’s (Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture) objective was to evaluate the feasibility of introducing Iron enriched pearl millet varieties by conducting and by supporting a value chain analysis with local seed partners.
Established a professional relationship with a local private seed company.
Conducted a high-level value chain assessment for iron-enriched pearl millet in Myanmar.
Facilitated the drafting and the signature of the Material Transfer Agreement between the regional-level genetic provider ICRISAT (India) and the local seed partner AWBA, in order to initiate variety testing locally.
The local seed partner received 1 open-pollinated (OPV) and 4 hybrid varieties. Furthermore, the partner conducted a late-stage development trial in 2022 to assess the performance of the many varieties. SFSA provided support in the evaluation and in the assessment of these varieties.