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Policy and Governance on Agricultural Biodiversity, Genetic Resource and Traditional Knowledge in Myanmar: Perspectives on Strategic Roles of Seed Bank

Bibliographic Information

Other Title
  • ミャンマーにおける農林業の生物多様性・遺伝資源・伝統的知識に関わる政策:シードバンクの戦略的役割についての展望


This report is based on the field survey conducted in Sep. 2013 and the recent literature reviews. It aims to conduct research on biodiversity policies in Myanmar and to discuss about the role of Seed Bank, which preserves genetic resources of the country. We first reviewed the current status of Myanmar policy and governance of genetic resources and traditional knowledge related to agriculture and forest biodiversity. Myanmar has a total area of 677,000 km2 and stretches from north to south with different elevations from sea level to high mountains. The country is rich in biodiversity with forests covering half of the land and rivers. However, due to economic restrictions in the past and recent rapid economic growth, forest area has been decreased, which resulted in unstable supply of woods, their primary energy source, and in loss of biodiversity. Myanmar has been active in joining international agreements related to biodiversity even before democratization. Even though some national laws on natural conservation and forest preservation were enacted, there is an urgent need for steady implementation of policies and for enhanced grassroots activities, thus improving governance. Agriculture is the main industry in Myanmar. Due to loss of habitats, climate change and expansion of human dwellings, agricultural biodiversity is threatened. To sustain food security and economic development, it is necessary to preserve and promote Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA). The Seed Bank was established in Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation with cooperation with Japanese government in 1990. It now preserves 11,916 plant genetic resources in short-term storage and 11,676 genetic resources in middle-to-long term one. Finally, we reviewed two types of seed banks. The first type is mainly for management of genetic resources by governments, functioning more as a gene bank. The second type is aimed for promoting variety changes for the farmers at a grassroot level. The strategic roles of two types of banks and their complementarities are reviewed. The seed banks at local and grass-roots levels contribute to accelerate activities and trust building of international non-profit organizations. It is observed that international stakeholders started to strategically take advantage of the bank.



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