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Myanmar is a resource-rich country bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand. It is the second-largest country in Southeast Asia, with a third of its perimeter comprising an uninterrupted coastline that spans 1,930 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. 

Agriculture is very important in Myanmar’s economy: it employs 70% of the country’s labor force and comprises 38.2% of its GDP. Rice is considered both a major food crop and major export food item. The majority of Myanmar’s sown area is planted to monsoon rice, whereas summer rice is planted between November and February in the delta region in the country’s lower part and from January to March in central dry-zone regions.  

Myanmar is among the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change. One of its manifestations that is seen to seriously affect the country’s rice production capacity is heat stress. 

The map shows the drought area (155,140 hectares) in Myanmar.
Drought-prone areas in Myanmar

Myanmar’s deepwater rice area is located in the basin of the Irrawaddy River, where rice monoculture is common. Late-monsoon rice is grown in areas where the water level recedes a little earlier and Mayin rice is commonly sown when there is no standing water in the fields.

Some 173,560 hectares of rice area are affected by submergence in Myanmar.

Flood-prone areas in Myanmar

Ufra, a serious disease of deepwater rice, is considered the most serious problem in Myanmar’s flood-prone areas. The average rice yield in these areas is 0.8 t/ha, lower than the 3.4 t/ha yield under favorable conditions.

The total rice crop area affected by salinity is 513,780 hectares in Myanmar.

Salt-affected areas in Myanmar

Key institutions

 Department of Agriculture Research (DAR)

Key scientists

  • Tin Tin Myint
  • Ohnmar Myint

Released rice varieties

 Name of variety Year released Ecosystem
 Sangankhan Sinthwelatt 2013 Salinity
 Yemyoke khan saba (Swarna-sub1) 2012 Submergence
 Yeanelo-2 2013 Upland


  • Drought
  • Submergence
  • Salinity

Research activities

Drought. Field trials, testing of lines, participatory varietal selections, and management trials.

Demonstration trial of IRRI aerobic rice advanced lines. The grain yield of IR79008-B-11-B-B-1 was higher than that of the standard check cultivar and the others yielded similar to the standard check.

On-farm trial of aerobic rice. Tested line B6149F-MR-7 had the highest average grain yield at three locations. It has larger panicles, more grains per panicle, and higher yield than the rest of the rice lines, and it was also the most preferred by local farmers.

Demonstration trial of IRRI and Yn drought-tolerant rice advanced lines. Five tested lines had higher grain yield than the standard check cultivar. Yn 3155-421-18-3-7-1 had the highest grain yield of all entries, while BP 278 D-MR-3 had the lowest grain yield.

Advanced yield trial: drought-tolerant rice. A total of 12 selected lines from the INGER nursery were tested as an advanced yield trial on Yezin, Sebin, and Pangon farms. Cultivar Yar-8 was used as a standard check. Average grain yield performances of tested lines at each location were observed. Eight lines out-yielded the standard check.

Submergence. Preference analysis under PVS in flash-flood submergence areas of the region revealed that the most preferred line was Swarna-Sub1. There is ongoing collaborative research between CURE, IRRI, and DAR-Myanmar using improved IRRI breeding lines. 

Variety released. The Myanmar National Seed Committee registered Swarna-Sub1 (local name: Yemyoke khan saba) as a new variety in March 2013. It is the first submergence-tolerant rice variety in the country.

Demonstration trials. 
  • Six genotypes selected from the 2011 wet-season trial were used in the submergence trials under normal conditions in the Rice Division.
  • Five genotypes selected from the 2011 wet season were used in the stagnant flooding trials under normal conditions in the Rice Division, Kangyidaunt Township and Myaungmya Farm.
Advanced yield trials. Twelve lines (IR57514 introgression lines from RGDU, Thailand, and IRRI salt-submergent lines) were used in replicated yield trials under completely submerged conditions in the Rice Division and on Myaungmya Farm.

General yield trials. A total of 17 IRRI lines were used in a replicated yield trial to evaluate tolerance for complete submergence in the Rice Division. 

Observation nursery trials.
  • Twenty-five IRRI lines were used in observation nursery trials to assess tolerance for complete submergence in the Rice Division.
  • A total of 82 genotypes were used for the complete submergence trials in the Rice Division.
  • Seventeen genotypes (local varieties and IRRI lines) were used in a trial for anaerobic germination in the Rice Division.
  • Test of the double transplanting method for flood-prone areas in a rainfed lowland rice environment
  • Fertilizer application (management options). A trial in Yezin used different rates of N fertilizer and variety Swarna-Sub1. 

Salinity. Varieties released. A released saline-tolerant rice variety for Myanmar is Sangankhan Sinthwelatt (2013). 

Participatory varietal selection (PVS). Nine participatory variety selection trials using 122 lines were carried out. In addition, using 60 lines, partners also did two sets of evaluation and selection of appropriate cultivars. 

For the researcher-managed PVS mother trial, five genotypes were used: IR71829-3R-10-3, IR72048-B-R-2-2-2, IR71829-3R-73-1-2, IR70023-4B-R-1-2, and Pokkali (R-check). Pokkali as the check variety.

In another set of experiments, researchers evaluated a total of 50 advanced breeding lines in different yield evaluation trials.