US soybean planting experiment scheduled in Myanmar

Farmers need to be cognizant of several basic things when planting soybeans every year, no matter the soil or weather conditions. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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NAWNGCHO, Jul 3, 2019, Myanmar Times. The Ministry of Commerce will grow high-yielding US soybeans in Shan State’s Nawngcho township as an experiment prior to introducing more widespread planting of the crop, reported the Myanmar Times.

The ministry’s deputy director-general for consumer affairs U Aung Maun said native soybean species produce between 12 and 20 baskets per acre compared to US species, which can produce between 30 and 70 baskets.

“There’s an opportunity here for both domestic consumption and exports if we can grow more soybean,” he said, adding that Myanmar could sell more soybean if China continues to halt US soybean imports since June after slapping a 25pc tariff last July due to the trade dispute with the US.

U Aung Maun said that the first batch of US soybean would be grown as an experiment starting this October while a soybean forum has been planned to promote the US crop. A meeting was also held with the local Pyithu Hluttaw representative and the Myanmar Edible Oil Millers Association.

He said that financing and the small acreage owned by farmers were problems that needed to be overcome to introduce this new soybean species. “It is difficult for farmers who own small plots to change species,” U Aung Maun added.

Of the 365,000 acres planted with soybean throughout the country, some 200,000 acres can be found in Shan State, where in the 2017-18 fiscal year, there were 185,729 soybean farms. The productivity in the farms throughout the country came to 1.161 bushels per acre on average.

Soybean farms can mainly be found in the southern and eastern parts of Shan State as well as Kayah State.

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