Rice Production
Myanmar is regarded as one of the origin of rice. Rice has been cultivated in Myanmar since pre-historic times. The opening of Suez Canal in 1869 had improved world trading in commodities and in consequence the cultivation of rice was expanded in Myanmar particularly in Lower Myanmar. Rice area gradually expanded and just before the second world war, it reach 5 million hectare. Export of rice reach 3 million tons annually and Myanmar became the largest rice exporter in the world.
However, rice area declined in the post-war period due to devastation of war and civil unrest. After gaining independence in 1948, rice production recovered gradually and regained its per-war production level at around 1965. Nevertheless, there was a little improvement in rice production in the entire decade after 1965. With a view to provide enough food for the growing population and to bring about increase rice export, the new rice technology through a Special Rice Yielding Program was introduced beginning 1977-1978. The new extension strategy of training and visit extension approach was tried in one of the rice growing areas and designed to be fit with Myanmar situation. The program was designated as the Whole Township Rice Production Program and the strategy was selective concentrative. The program had five components namely;
1.    Proven new technology,
2.    Government support and leadership
3.    Selective and concentration
4.    Community organization and
5.    Demonstration and competition
In fact, the Township Rice Production Program was achieved with great success since the following 10 impact points of the new rice production technology could be able to implement in full swing in the existing rice production system by that time.
1.    The use of high yielding variety both exotic and local
2.    Proper tillage
3.    High plant population per unit area
4.    Transplanting of 25-30 days old seedlings
5.    Application of recommend rates of chemical fertilizers
6.    Basal application of farmyard manure
7.    Proper weeding
8.    Improved water management
9.    Control of insects and diseases
10.    Minimizing of losses at harvesting time
Due to this adoption of this new rice technology, Myanmar’s rice production was regained its momentum as expected. But in later periods, after launching with the new rice production technology, the national average yield of rice was stagnant at the level of 1804-2320 kg/ha due to increased price of farm inputs, farm labor wages and other management factor causing the momentum of achieving increased rice production.
But, rice industry of Myanmar was regained a turning points in 1992-93 boosting up the rice productivity of the country by the introduction of summer rice production program in all possible areas where water resources are make available. The summer rice production was intensified year by year with the strong support of the government by providing the construction of new irrigation dams, weris and reservoir, improving existing irrigation facilities, establishing river pumping facilities and exploring ground water for the assurance of irrigation water particularly for the summer rice cultivation.
As result, total rice sown area is about 8.09 million hectare with a share of 6.82 million hectare of monsoon rice and 1.27 million hectare of summer rice. The total production of rice is 31.45 million tons share by 25.80 million tons from monsoon rice and 5.65 million tons from the production of summer rice.