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Project Case Study

Designing a comprehensive rural development project in Rakhine State

Developing long-term strategies for rural income and employment generation

During 2014 Adam Smith International designed an innovative rural economic development project in Rakhine State, Myanmar (Burma), funded by the Government of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The project deployed a multidisciplinary team to conduct inclusive stakeholder consultations and research in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and eleven Townships in Rakhine State with all levels of government, development partners and rural communities.

Rakhine State, situated in the western part of Myanmar, is one of the least developed areas of the country. It confronts a number of serious challenges, including malnutrition, poverty, conflict, weak infrastructure, and weather extremes.

Project info

Designing Rural Economic Development Interventions in Rakhine State, Myanmar


  • 2014



  • Government of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

More than 50% of the rural population is landless and relies mainly on casual labour for its livelihood. Agriculture is the primary source of income and employment for most people, but the State suffers from chronically low agricultural productivity. Rice production in the wet season is reliant on monsoon rainfall, while opportunities for a second winter crop in the dry season are limited due to the lack of access to fresh water.

We designed an ambitious 5-year private sector development project and results framework to improve agricultural water management for the dry season, facilitate winter crop diversification and increase farmer incomes.

The Rakhine Winter Crop Project will bring about this change by:

  • providing the infrastructure, training and applied research for farmers and government extension services to improve fresh water management,
  • working with farmers and government extension services to diversify into more productive and profitable winter crops, and
  • facilitating value chain development through improving market knowledge, market access and access to credit for farmers.

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