Myanmar is still an agro-based country. The draft power of cattle and buffalo is widely used in the agricultural sector, even though mechanised farming system is encouraged.
The beef cattle farming are in an initial stage. Production is traditional mixed crop-livestock systems predominated with Shwe Ni and Pyar Sein breeds. Very few commercial cattle farms can be found in some cities.
The market chain involves several actors/traders before animals reach markets.
The processing sector is at a primary stage, largely dominated by small scale slaughterhouses.
Government policy currently focuses on cattle for draft power – restrictions on slaughtering below 12 years of age and exports of live cattle are not allowed.Unofficial exports live cattle from Myanmar have increased notably recently due to a growing demand from China and Vietnam markets.
Cross-border price differentials played a crucial role in shaping the cattle trade patterns. Live cattle price inside Burma is significantly lower than neighbouring countries leading to unofficial exports. Reportedly a cow/buffalo bought for K500,000 in Dry Zone could be resold in border areas at 2 to 4 times higher price.