Livelihood in Myanmar

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Significance of the Study

Myanmar is the agricultural based economy with very rich resources. Agricultural, including livestock and fishery is most important sector for Myanmar's economy. The key crops for the agricultural sector are rice, pulses, beans, sesame, peanuts, sugarcane and etc. Nearly three quarters of the population who live in rural areas' main livelihood depend on that sector. Environmental resources directly support the basis of the livelihoods of poor people in Myanmar.

Myanmar faces environmental problems arising from underdevelopment and poverty. It has some problems of deforestation, loss of biological resources, land degradation due to wind and water erosion, urbanization and mismanagement.

Every economic action can have some effect on the environment, and every environmental change can have an impact on the economy. Environmental management, such as, forestry operations; improvements in air quality; changes in environmental institutions and governance; and investment in water and sanitation infrastructure are important.

Poor countries are much more dependent on natural resources as assets than rich countries. Wealthier households have greater access to environmental infrastructure and better health outcomes. Health targets requires public policies that focus on reducing environmental risk factors through better access to basic environmental services, as well as better access to health and education services. A link between natural resources, the environment and poverty is at least plausible.

Environmental change, particularly of local natural resources, can affect poverty through many pathways. Consider poor household's welfare depend on assets that the household has. These assets may include biophysical, human, environmental, and constructed capital.

At any point in time, household well being depends on the return to these assets and any exogenous shocks. Exogenous shocks simply reflect unexpected changes as a result of natural disasters, death, or market changes. Further, returns to assets generally have two components: (1) known returns (2) an uncertain component that depends on weather, sickness, and so on. Changes in welfare can thus result from three types of changes: (1) changes in asset holdings, (2) changes in returns to these holdings (3) changes in exogenous income, which can be positive or negative.

While we use household income and welfare interchangeably, we recognize that income is only one measure of well being. Changes in environmental management can have two effects in the short to medium term. First, it can change the return to assets. Agro-forestry techniques might contribute to improved indoor air quality, health, and productivity. Then, second, improved environmental quality would be to add greater value to the flows from household land or labor. Any Health improvements that come from environmental management will also have direct welfare impacts that are independent of productivity improvements.

Changes in resource management can also increase household assets. Improved environmental quality may contribute to reduced mortality and greater labor power. It is important to recognize that labor is often only asset that poor households have, and that sickness and death can have intergenerational affects. Any improvement in environmental health can have long-term impacts on households' ability to move out of poverty. Environmental changes can contribute to unexpected shocks. Climate change can increase the variability of returns, for example, with greater variation in rainfall patterns, the variability of crop yields may increase.

On 2 and 3 May Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar and 31 townships were significantly affected by the cyclone in Ayarwaddy Division and Yangon Division. The damage was most severe in the Delta region, also known as the county's rice bowl. Delta is by no means of poorest parts on Myanmar. However, development is relatively limited. As agriculture is the driving force for that area, the uncertainties impact on the households of income in others sectors. The people in Delta are primarily farmers, fisher man and labors, with a smaller proportion engaged in the service industries and as traders. Approximately 50-60 percents of families in the Delta are engaged in agriculture. River basin areas are removed the covering by forest, leading to kore frequent and severe flooding.

After that disaster, many aids projects are supporting for the vulnerable. It has been after two years Nargis. The aids agencies are still supporting for them. However, they support most of the people in rural areas are much worse off today than a decade ago. Farmers' incomes are barely enough to provide food, with left over for clothing, school fees, shelters, supplies or medicine. Environmental problems including deteriorating water supply and diminishing common property resources further impact the poor.

This study focuses on the farmers from the Pyapon Township from Nargis Affected area. As mentioned above, that area is very important for the agriculture sector, it has been two years after Nargis, the situation of farmers are remain unchanged. The research will find out, how the poor families coping with collapsing livelihood and income? and what are the problems for them? And what are the immediate aids for farmers to solve these problems? Do the recovery aids for livelihood of farmers improve their welfare environmentally, technically and economically?

The more the environment is used up by this mining of the land, trees, fishes and other resources, the frequent and severe floods, drought and other national disaster will be. Now, there are changes in delta hydrology caused by the flooding and impact on soil quality due to salt water erosion. There is also less fresh water at that area. Which problems they will face later? What kids of environmental management technique for their improvement? What should be done to overturn the current trend?