Friday, July 10, 2015

Myanmar: Lessons in postharvest identified by Learning Alliance members in wrap-up meeting

Bogale, Myanmar — The Learning Alliance (LA) in Bogale Township in Myanmar was established in July 2013 to improve Bogale rice quality and obtain higher market prices. The members, composed of farmers, millers, NGO partners, and other rice value chain actors, had a wrap-up meeting on 29-30 June 2015. The 20 members (4 female, 16 male)  shared what they experienced and learned from the different LA activities conducted from 2013 to 2015, and developed plans to continue the alliance.  The event is part of the final review program of the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which aims to improve food security livelihoods in the lower region of the Ayeyarwady Delta.

Using interactive group learning activities, the participants traced their key learning from trying postharvest options, i.e., flatbed dryers and lightweight threshers that will help improve paddy quality. Members also recalled visiting wholesale and export markets in Yangon.  LA members identified that the flatbed dryer provided by the LIFT project enabled them to dry their grains even during bad weather and risky conditions.

U Aung Kyi, a rice farmer in Kyee Chaung village, used the dryer and shared his experience to LA members from other villages. “During the 2014 monsoon 2014 season, I was able to dry my wet paddy overnight using the flatbed dryer. I used it again in the 2015 summer season and was able to sell my paddy  in Yangon,” he shared.

Through the alliance, five farmers from Pa Dae Kyaw village were able to try the lightweight TC-800 thresher, and shared how easy it was to use.

IRRI postharvest expert Martin Gummert and project consultant Dr. Myo Aung Kyaw discussed with the LA members the future activities of the alliance, which will include provision of solar bubble dryers for mobile drying, and business models for the flatbed dryer with group storage to ensure that the smallholder farmers will continue producing good-quality grains to help increase their income.

Some LA activities were co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, through the project Closing the Rice Yield Gaps in Asia with Reduced Environmental Footprint project.

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