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Burma introduces 5-year plan
Burma introduces 5-year reform plan
The Asian Age, 2 May 1996.
By Phillip McCellan
RANGOON, May 1: Faced with rampant inflation and an unwieldy
dual exchange rate, Burma is lurching into its new five-year economic
plan with high hope of expanding its rickety economy by six per cent a
year. At the heart of Burmas efforts to propel its economy forward is
the agricultural sector, which the countrys economic administrators
hope can be rapidly modernised with the aim of boosting output.
"Since we are moving gradually towards a stronger industrial base, the
main thrust will be to industrialize agricultural production," Mr David
Abel, minister for economic planning and state development, told AFP
in an interview on Saturday. Mr Abel said while industries such as
fisheries and mining would be central to the five-year plan unveiled in
mid-April, the main goal was to double the yield of the agricultural
"This is achievable because we have land and resources which will be
coming on stream to support the sector in harmony with the plan," he
said. Almost half of Burmas gross domestic product can be traced back
to the agriculture sector, comprised mainly of rice, wheat, beans and
pulses. According to World Bank figures, the agricultural sector,
including livestock, fisheries and forest products, grew an estimated 6.1
per cent in the fiscal year ending April, 1995, to 28.6 billion kyats
($240 million at the prevailing market rate).
Mr Abel said that efforts at doubling agricultural production would be
geared towards improving seeds and fertilizers in a bid to raise yields,
and towards increasing the increasing the land under cultivation
through improved irrigation. Analysts say agriculture is one are where
Burma will be able to make up for its inability to bring in development.
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