FAO: OPEC gives multi-million dollar loan boost to Myanmar’s edible oil sector

9 November 2006

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development has boosted Myanmar’s edible oil sector with $12.3 million loan to increase production, the United Nations food agency announced today.

“The goal of this project is to increase the productivity and value of oil crops and their derivatives, while ensuring low cost edible oil supplies for consumers and assuring that sound policies are implemented and institutions are strengthened to develop a sustainable and competitive oil crop sector,” said Geoffrey Mrema, Director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Agricultural Support Systems Division.

The three-year, $14 million project is one of the largest of its kind, according to FAO. OPEC has provided the lion’s share and the Government has covered remaining costs of $2.7 million, with FAO furnishing technical support.

The project is expected to enhance rural incomes and food security in the country, where some 75 per cent of the population lives in the countryside and depends on agriculture for its livelihood, FAO said.

To reduce import needs, the project will also cover the construction of two new oil solvent extraction plants and upgrade existing processing facilities, which will increase extraction yields and domestic availability of refined edible oils, FAO said. Each year, Myanmar exports 500,000 tonnes of vegetable oils, mainly groundnut and sesame, while importing 150,000 tonnes of palm oil.

“The project is a good example of the integrated approach advocated by FAO towards the improved efficiency and competitiveness of agrifood systems,” Mr. Mrema said.


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