The study draws on the farming systems analysis initiative conducted in 2017 and 2018 across 5 States and Regions of Myanmar, by young scholars and junior researchers.
It introduces the Farming Systems Analysis approach and its relevance to better understand farmers’decisions and practices. Three selected case studies from Kayin and Chin states and Central Dry zone provide a historic and holistic reflection of the evolution of farming systems in these contrasting agro-ecological zones. A synthesis reflecting on the findings of the 6 farming systems analysis studies sheds light on the key differences and common points of agrarian dynamics and the rapid rural transformations taking place across the 5 States and Regions. In short, although there are much variations within the country in terms of cropping and livestock rearing systems, land holding size and farm incomes, farmers face very similar constraints in terms of labour shortages and they adapt similar off-farm diversification strategies. Conflicts and inappropriate agricultural policies of the last decades have likewise affected rural households throughout the country. China appears to play a major role in shaping agricultural markets and value chains.
Finally, Kachin, Kayin and Chin uplands are undergoing agrarian transitions from subsistence based shifting cultivation systems to cash crop based permanent cultivation systems with common impacts on food self-sufficiency, land use and land tenure patterns.