Myanmar’s Rice Bowl of Dreams
Rice fields in a valley at morning light. Bali island
Before its ruling junta seized power in 1962, Myanmar served as ‘Asia’s rice bowl’. Now as it opens up to the world, the country is hoping to reclaim this status and other economic benefits, including poverty reduction. Neighboring countries have succeeded here; Cambodia, another rice exporter, has seen its poverty rate reduced by 5% for each 1% increase in GDP.  On the other hand, Laos – whose economy is dependent upon mining and hydropower – has only seen a 0.5% reduction in poverty for every percentage point of GDP growth.
In other news, Japanese car maker Suzuki recently announced plans to build a second manufacturing plant outside the country’s largest city, Yangon. The plant will produce up to 10,000 cars a year. Suzuki also operates Myanmar’s only other car manufacturing plant, which churns out 1,800 cars per year.
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