The loan from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) will be supported by technical assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) over the next three years, according to an FAO announcement. The Myanmar government will add a further $2 million. The project to increase oilseed production and improve oil processing technologies is expected to enhance rural incomes and food security in the country, where some 75 per cent of the population lives in rural areas and depends primarily on agriculture for its livelihood. "The goal of this project is to increase the productivity and value of oil crops and their derivatives, while ensuring low cost edible oil supplies for consumers and assuring that sound policies are implemented and institutions are strengthened to develop a sustainable and competitive oil crop sector," said Geoffrey Mrema, director of the agricultural support systems division at FAO. Myanmar's annual average production of vegetable oils, mainly groundnut and sesame oils, is estimated at about 500,000 tonnes. The country also imports an average of 160,000 tonnes per year of palm oil. The project will focus largely on four oil seeds: sesame, groundnut, sunflower and soybean, and on oil palm, and will boost oil crop production by expanding the availability of improved seeds and genetic material to oil crop farmers. Higher crop productivity is expected also through the adoption of improved farming systems, which will be promoted by participatory farm extension approaches, such as the establishment of several demonstration fields and the organization of farmers' field schools. The project will also cover the construction of two new oil solvent extraction plants and the upgrading of existing oil processing facilities to improve yields and there will be greater amounts of refined edible oils available from the domestic market, reducing the need for imports. It will also improve the quality and value of both edible oil and oilcake. In addition to these activities, the project will establish national edible oils standards and institutional capacity for edible oil quality control.