16/10/05 BANGKOK, (Bernama) -- Myanmar is aiming to expand its oil palmcultivation by another 500,000 acres within the next five years to meetgrowing domestic demand and reduce its reliance on imported palm oil.
The "New Light of Myanmar" English daily reported recently that effortsare being made to turn the southernmost region of Taninthayi Division intothe oil palm growing centre of the country.
The paper said Myanmar hopes its plans to grow oil palm on a larger scalewill enable it to meet both local demand as well as to export the surplus,thus joining the other palm oil exporting countries in Southeast Asia.
Malaysia and Indonesia are the biggest palm oil producers and exporters inthe world while the crop is also planted in the Philippines and Thailand.
According to the latest "Chronicle of National Development ComparisonBetween Period Preceding 1988 and After (Up to Feb, 2005)" book publishedby the Myanmar Ministry of Information, oil palm was planted on only18,220 acres in 1988.
The planted area has since increased to 137,610 acres, mostly in theTaninthayi Division where rubber and pepper are the other major sources ofincome.
According to the paper, emphasis is being given to boost oil palm andrubber cultivation due to the high demand and high prices for thecommodities in the world market.
Myanmar, comprising seven divisions and seven states, has a population of54.7 million people of whom two-thirds are farmers.