THEME 1: Understanding Rural Poverty and Food Insecurity

Understanding the nature of poverty and food insecurity among rural households is central to designing better policy options. CAPSA thus coordinates research to understand better the magnitude, depth and spatial distribution of poverty and food insecurity among rural households. Even as a large volume of research is being carried out on poverty at micro level to document and understand the depth as well as spatial distribution of poverty among agricultural households, further research is needed to understand how policies can be designed to increase the efficacy of poverty reduction efforts, with careful attention to the specific geophysical, socioeconomic and political contexts in which such efforts are taking place and their effects on improving capabilities of the poor.

Another area of focus are policies and programmes that target the marginal areas such as arid zones and mountain regions, often inhabited by poor farmers cultivating secondary or indigenous crops with limited irrigation facilities and little or no access to incentives through the existing institutional arrangements. Agricultural risk and risk management strategies among these households is a priority research area given the importance of risk assessment in decision making processes among agricultural households, their impact on long-term growth, and the entry of the poor into agricultural markets.

CAPSA also addresses social protection, focusing on social protection that targets agricultural labourers; agricultural insurance on secondary crops, area-based insurance in marginal lands and vulnerable situations; and welfare programmes targeting agricultural households in marginal areas.

CAPSA intends to review global economic changes that affect agriculture in Asia and the Pacific to understand their implications for the poor and vulnerable groups and provide opportunities for informed debate on these changes. A clear understanding of the extent of poverty in response to economic and political changes will be of immense use for agricultural policy formulation for rural areas of Asia and the Pacific.


An Integrated Rural Economic and Social Development Programme for Livelihoods Improvement in the Dry Zone of Myanmar

LIFT logo

The project aims to support integrated socioeconomic development in Myanmar's dry zone in the context of inclusive and sustainable development with special emphasis on livelihoods improvement and food security. To achieve this objective, it seeks to strengthen the capacities of policymakers, especially at the local level, programme development partners, and the private sector, to:

  1. coordinate and share knowledge through the establishment of knowledge sharing and collaboration mechanism(s);
  2. formulate policies and advocate for rural development, poverty reduction, livelihoods improvement and food security in the dry zone of Myanmar.

Both the above will address the following three thematic areas:

  1. Technology transfer of improved and environmentally sound technologies for small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) available locally as well as in the region;
  2. Sustainable agriculture for poverty reduction;
  3. Agricultural engineering and farm mechanization for increased food security and poverty reduction.

The project is funded through the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) managed by the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) and led by the Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture (CAPSA-ESCAP) in partnership with the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT), the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) and the Network Activities Group (NAG). The Department of Rural Development of the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development of Myanmar (DRD-MLFRD) has been designated as the focal government agency to collaborate in the implementation of the Project. The project activities include a wide range of interventions such as establishment of a Knowledge Resource Network, development of case studies and policy papers, curricula development and its translation, training workshops and policy dialogues.   


Inception workshop
5 May 2015, Yangon, Myanmar
(Background note)

Orientation meeting for consultants for development of case studies
27 August 2015, Yangon, Myanmar
(Background Note)

Workshop to promote farmer-led innovation in Myanmar’s Dry Zone
10-11 December 2015, Mandalay, Myanmar

Workshop on best practices in mung bean (Green gram) seed production, quality control and maintenance
29 February-1 March 2016, Magway, Myanmar

Workshop on business management of custom hiring of agricultural machinery in the dry zone of Myanmar 
3-4 May 2016, Mandalay, Myanmar

Multi-stakeholder dialogue on strengthening local capacities for climate-resilient agriculture in Myanmar’s dry zone
30-31 May 2016, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

Workshops on participatory rural appraisal to support local planning for climate-resilient agriculture
7-9 September 2016, Monywa, Myanmar
14-16 September 2016, Mandalay, Myanmar
26-28 September 2016, Magway, Myanmar

Workshop on advocacy to promote participatory decision-making for climate-resilient agriculture in Myanmar’s dry zone
29-30 September 2016, Magway


Policy Advisory Services

Policy Advisory Services

To move beyond the current state of poverty, hunger and unsustainable environmental conditions, governments in the region need to envision new and innovative growth trajectories and implement supporting policies, strategies and programmes.

The ESCAP Resolution 65/4 of April 2009 made during the 65th Commission recognized the need for "…greater technical cooperation efforts to support capacity building aimed at strengthening national food security programmes, research and development on sustainable agriculture, and regional cooperation in preventing and coping with food crises and ensuring that all people have access to food."

To fulfil this need, ESCAP, through CAPSA, provides advisory services to member states on poverty reduction and food security and organizes capacity-building programmes to strengthen analytical capacity of policy analysts.

Strengthening capacities – Recent highlights

Capacity-building on Agricultural Policy Research:
Sustainable Agriculture for Food Security and Poverty Reduction

Capacity Building

Capacity-building for policy analysis on poverty reduction and food security through sustainable agriculture is an imperative in the current global environment where a great deal of uncertainty exists on the sustainability of current agricultural practices.

The objective of the workshop series is to provide an opportunity for researchers and officials who play leading roles in policy research and design and implemention of strategies, programmes and projects on food security, poverty and sustainable agriculture in government ministries and affiliated institutes to enhance their understanding of the current state of global food insecurity, poverty and sustainable agriculture and sharpen their skills in policy analysis.