Before 1988, agricultural policies of Myanmar could be depicted as rigid and controlled and subsidized ones that highly emphasized on domestic food security and stability of price (Vokes & Goletti, 2013). After the economic transition from planned economic system to market-oriented economic system, agricultural policies of Myanmar pay attention on boosting production and promotion of agricultural exports, almost exclusively for crops. A more explicit statement on rural development came in May 2011, shortly after President Thein Sein’s inauguration, with the launch of a Rural Development and Poverty Reduction Program. The program placed livestock breeding and fishery development among the eight priority areas. One of the policies in the livestock sector is to increase livestock production for domestic consumption and share the surplus with other countries. However, this can only be seen as the aim without any clear policy statement for developing cattle farming.
Government objectives with respect to the livestock sector are articulated in the recent draft of the Country Program Framework, and are as follows: i) to increase the production of draught animals together with agricultural expansion; ii) to expand dairy production and thus facilitate import substitution; iii) to increase meat production and per capita meat consumption and thereby enhance the nutritional status of the population; and iv) to increase the income of farmers.
The Myanmar government has issued a policy on restrictions on the age of cattle and buffalo which can be slaughtered, and restrictions on live cattle and buffalo exports. This has a desire to maintain access of smallholder farmers to sufficient animals at low prices to provide draft power for crop production. The government has also placed a system of issuing licenses to people who manage markets, and move and slaughter cattle and buffalo to monitor these restrictions. In practices, these restrictions may result in an increase of transaction costs on trade. The Myanmar government has also issued the decision to ban importation of meat products without health guarantees as the meat production sector has met the target of domestic sufficiency, and it is seeking to export surpluses of meat and eggs.