Lancang-Mekong Cooperation

Breeding Elite Rice Varieties and Optimizing Cultivation in Myanmar Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (CHINA), Mawlamyine University and Dagon University (MYANMAR)

Ministry of Education

Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Highlights

The Lancang-Mekong area is one of the regions with the greatest development potential in Asia and beyond. Lancang and Mekong differ in name, but refer to the same river—an important river running across China and the Indo-China Peninsula. Originating from China’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the river has its source in Yushu of Qinghai Province. It is called Lancang River in China, while in its downstream after flowing out of Yunnan Province, it is called the Mekong River, running across Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, measuring 4,880 kilometers in length, covering an area of 795,000 square kilometers, and feeding altogether 326 million people. The five Mekong River countries are home to 230 million people and boast a combined GDP over US$600 billion and an average annual growth rate of nearly 7%.

The Mekong-Lancang Cooperation was established following the initiative put forward by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 17th ASEAN-China Summit held in Myanmar in 2014 to establish a new type of cooperation mechanism among six Mekong-Lancang countries comprised of Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam with an aim of promoting cooperation in the areas of political and socioeconomic development and has been fully established in 2016. Since its launch in March 2016, the mechanism has achieved fast progress. LMC aims at bolstering the economic and social development of the Sub-regional countries, enhancing the wellbeing of their people, narrowing the development gap among regional countries and supporting ASEAN Community building as well as promoting the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advancing South-South cooperation. The LMC is an important component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and also an important sub-regional cooperation mechanism between China and ASEAN.

Breeding Elite Rice Varieties and Optimizing Cultivation Practices Project

A collaboration research on rice has been initiated combining three Universities, namely Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University (FAFU), University of Mawlamyine University (MU) and Dagon University (DU) since Fujian Kingsanto Development Co. Ltd (FKDC, or the Fuzhou Nake Institute of Crop Breeding) and FAFU started to collaborate with Asia Pivotal International Group (APIG) to implement experiments of growing hybrid rice cultivars from China in Myanmar as early as 2015. Afterward, it was proposed to support a special fund for that rice research project assigned to Ministry of Education by China in FY 2016 and then it was received by Ministry of Education in that collaboration research project. During the very first two years from 2015 to 2016, all the cooperated operation practiced in DU was to aim at screening rice cultivars introduced from China suitable for ecological condition in Myanmar. However, in recent two fiscal years, crossing between new desirable lines selected from the progeny of hybrid rice grown in Myanmar.


Fig 2. Discussion about upcoming MOU between MU and FAFU, and souvenirs exchange between the delegates from MU and authorized cabinet of FAFU at forum

             A new elite line has been already achieved for now. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) could have been signed between DU and FAFU in FY 2018 and it is followed by another MoU which will be taken between two institutes, Mawlamyine University (MU) and FAFU in upcoming March of this year 2019. However, the research project of crossing elite rice varieties and efficient cultivation practices has been triggered on the campus of Mawlamyine University since the year 2017. The authority cabinet also introduces the knowledge concerned to Myanmar farmers and researchers to shape Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiative, engaging multiple win for all the groups involved.


Fig 3. Souvenirs exchange between the delegates from DU and authorized cabinet of FAFU at forum

Goal of the Project

  • to address the reliable solutions of poverty reduction
  • to produce new elite rice varieties with high yield and lodging-resistance
  • to develop a set of cultivation and production techniques suitable for the new elite rice varieties in Myanmar
  • to implement an ecofriendly cultivation with less negative impact on environment
  • to uncover the causative genes for submergence tolerance in four Myanmar indigenous varieties and one Malaysia variety

Current Outcomes

In Mawlamyine University (MU) and Dagon University (DU) research work, Sinthukha, Manawthukha and Thukhahmwe were the best plant growth and yield in different growing method. System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is superior to direct seeding method and traditional cultivation method. Advantages of SRI method are saving seed cost and water. Traditional pesticides lead to less pests and disease. One of the advantages factor in SRI method is the root system of most plants only grows vigorously in well aerated soils and in these conditions it develops into a profuse, much branched system of fine rootlets and absorption of more nutrients enhance the growth.

The detection of submergence genes for SUB1A-2 varieties was occurred in Malaysia, Sitpwa, Hnankhar and Carliletyone. Among the seven SUB1C alleles, SUB1C -6 allele was found in Sitpwa, Tataungpo and Hnankha.

All Myanmar varieties and Malaysia variety have distinctive characters. It can be used for production of efficient varieties by breeding.

The two Paw San Hmwe (PSH) mutants (one with white grain and the other with red grain) expressed the trait of growth duration which is about one month shorter than the original variety utilized in the experiment in the field resided on the campus of DU in the previous year. Currently, reduction of life duration and plant height of PSH is ongoing process implementing the technique of CRISPR/Cas9.

Public-Private-Partnership (PPP)


Public Sector  

  1. Governmental Associates
  • Ministry of Education: Dagon University, Mawlamyine University
  1. R & D Cooperation
  • Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University (FAFU)

Private Sector

  • Fujian Kingsanto Development Co. Ltd (FKDC, or the Fuzhou Nake Institute of Crop Breeding)
  • Asia Pivotal International Group (APIG)

Fig 6 (Left). Speech giving by a pro-rector of Mawlamyine University for the opening ceremony of rice cultivation method and breeding technique seminar for Botany students, staffs of Agricultural Department and local farmers with the presence of Director of Agricultural Sector of Mon State

Fig 7 (Right). Demonstration of rice breeding by Mr. Li Zhongjin (Plant Breeding technician) at Mawlamyine


Fig 8-9. Public involvement (Agricultural technicians and    local farmers) in rice cultivation method and breeding technique seminar given by Mr. Li Zhongjin (Plant Breeding technician) at the theater of Mawlamyine University


Fig 10.  Discussion on Crop Breeding Technology and Talent Cultivation between FKDC and Myanmar University Cooperation


Fig 11 (up & down). Students and young teachers mobility between the R & D Cooperating Universities


Speech giving by a Prime Minister and Research Paper Reading in Kyaikmaraw Township Cooperative with Parliament on Mon State for sharing Research outcomes to the public


Research outcome in Myanmar(Mawlamyine University, up photo) and China (FAFU, down photo)


Two short life duration PSH mutants created by irradiation mutagenesis       Mutant plants with plant height gene Sd1 knocked out by the CRISPR/Cas9 technique