Key figures

Number of cooperatives per sector
Key figures
Key figures

Research overview


Responding to challenges and existing knowledge gaps facing the cooperative movement, this mapping research seeks to provide exhaustive information on cooperatives worldwide. This is achieved through a process jointly conducted by the ICA and its four regional offices – Cooperatives of the Americas, Cooperatives Europe, ICA Africa, and ICA Asia-Pacific – using a common methodology. Each office collected the input of ICA members present in the countries within its geographic area, by using the same questionnaire, and completing it with relevant national statistics, in order to obtain an accurate picture of the national situation. Mapping out cooperatives in each country provides a more precise picture of the cooperative context at national and regional levels, enhances the movement's visibility, networking, partnerships opportunities, as well as advocacy, and empowers cooperators by providing them tools for positive change.

This webpage presents a snapshot of the research results for Myanmar. For more information, you can download the full report and the highlights here.



The cooperative movement in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) originated under the British administrative rule in the early 20th century. Post its independence in 1948, cooperatives continued to be promoted. During the centrally planned social economy from 1962 to 1988, cooperatives developed a negative image owing to centralized control and operational inefficiencies. However, democratic reforms in the post-socialist era have helped overhaul the image of cooperatives positively. Today, cooperatives play an active important role in strengthening the agricultural sector and promoting financial inclusion in the country. 



ICA has one member from Myanmar. 

In Myanmar, the research questionnaire was distributed to and completed by 1 ICA member organisation in the country. The data collected was for the reference year 2017.




ICA member represents 40,613 cooperatives in the country, with 4,251,841 members and 132,551 employees.

Cooperatives are present across diverse sectors in Myanmar including agriculture and food, finance, wholesale and retail trade among others.


Legal framework

The legal framework analysis aims to provide general knowledge of the national cooperative legislation and of its main characteristics and contents, with particular regard to those aspects of regulation regarding the identity of cooperatives and its distinction from other types of business organisations, notably the for-profit shareholder corporation.

It aims to evaluate whether the national legislation in place supports or hampers the development of cooperatives, and is, therefore “cooperative friendly” or not, and the degree to which it may be considered so, also in comparison to the legislation in force in other countries of the ICA region, or at the supranational level.

In addition, the research aims to provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks in place in order to understand what changes in the current legislation would be necessary to improve its degree of “cooperative friendliness”, which is to say, to make the legislation more favourable to cooperatives, also in consideration of their specific identity. This webpage presents a snapshot of the legal framework analysis results for Myanmar.


This analysis deals with the existing national cooperative legislation of Myanmar which is the Co-operative Society Law, 1992 and the two regulations issued thereafter for implementing the law, namely : the Co-operative Society Rules are (promulgated in 1998) and thereafter the rules which been replaced by the Co-operative Society Rules (2013).


Cooperative Friendliness

The degree of ‘cooperative friendliness’ of Myanmar’s cooperative legislation is described as ‘more cooperative friendly than not’. This is because it is seen that all departments under Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MoALI is the responsible ministry for cooperative sector development in Myanmar) have regular coordination and the cooperative departments at the township level regulate cooperatives. Education of relevant legislations for cooperatives is also done by the cooperative departments regularly. Myanmar’s Legislation heavily influenced by its precursor which is the cooperative law of the erstwhile British India. It has the legal characteristics that distinguish Co-operatives from other legal types of business and the voting pattern of one member one vote.


Key recommendations for improvement

An encouraging legal framework which can support the systematic development of farmer organisations can be developed. Re-organization of the cooperative departments maybe undertaken to re-strategise priorities to concentrate upon cooperative development activities such as: education, knowledge sharing, international relations and business development rather than focusing on regulatory activities alone such as  auditing and management of the cooperative societies.



Myanmar’s cooperative law requires a review of the existing legislation as well as the extant rules. Cooperatives in Myanmar would benefit from being granted more autonomy. An impetus on cooperatives in the agricultural sector would be ideal for the growth of the national agrarian economy through cooperatives in the primary sector.



The legal frameworks analysis is a tool developed under the ICA-EU Partnership #coops4dev. It is an overview of the national legal frameworks at the time of writing. The views expressed within are not necessarily those of the ICA, nor does a reference to any specific content constitute an explicit endorsement or recommendation by the ICA. 

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