Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rice-based cropping system project in Myanmar makes significant contribution to local agriculture

NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar, 13 May—A project that promotes the adoption of new stress-tolerant rice varieties, greater crop intensification, and diversification, and postharvest management for smallholder farmers in the Ayeyarwady Delta has led to important developments in the local agriculture, according to farmers.

The project, Diversification and Intensification of Rice-based Cropping Systems in Lower Myanmar (MyRice), aims to improve farmers' profitability in Maubin and Daik Oo Townships in the Ayeyarwady and Bago regions, respectively, The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Department of Agriculture (DoA), the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), and private sector partners. 

Led by IRRI scientist Grant Singleton, the project is developing best practices for rice production, including postharvest management and innovative approaches to improve the productivity of rice-rice and rice-pulse cropping systems.  

Launched in 2012, MyRice received positive evaluations from its mid-term external review in May 2015. The project introduced stress-tolerant varieties of rice and pulses in the two-crop system and best management practices including postharvest management. Farmers and partners from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation (MoALI) in the two townships identified the introduction of these two technologies as important developments. The project has also supported the research theses of 17 MSc students from DoA and DAR enrolled at the Yezin Agriculture University (YAU).

“Building farmers' capacity is a long-lasting investment that is continuously helping improve the country's agricultural programs,” said Dr. Tun Winn, MOALI deputy minister. Winn, a former IRRI scholar, thanked the institute for its continued support and assistance to Myanmar. Meanwhile, Dr. Ye Tint Tun, director general of DoA, requested IRRI to further develop profitable rice and rice-mixed cropping systems, especially at the community level. “The great progress by IRRI and Myanmar partners in developing climate-ready varieties and the associated best management practices needs to be expanded for the benefit of all small-holder farmers,” he stressed. 

The accomplishments of  the project’s adaptive research and related activities were presented early this year in Ayeyarwady and Bago along with new activities for a full-cost extension through December 2017. On 13 May, the research outputs and the regional plans were presented to the officials of the MoALI at DAR in Nay Pyi Taw (photo). Plans for the outreach and outscaling activities for each region were formulated by the DoA staff at the district and township levels.  

“MoALI staff should observe carefully the output and outcomes of MyRice research to ensure sustainable implementation of project achievements even after the completion of the project,” said  U Naing Kyi Win, DAR director general, 

The occasion was graced by Dr. Myo Kywe, rector at Yezin Agricultural University;  MoAI officials, the project’s scholars, and private industry partners. Ninety-two participants joined the activity, of which 57 were women. Also on hand were IRRI representatives Drs. David Johnson, Grant Singleton, Romeo Labios, Jongsoo Shin, Nyo Me Htwe, U Than Aye, Daw Ohnmar Tun, Daw Su Su San, U Yan Linn Aung, U Aung Myo Thant, U Hlwan Oo, Daw Aye Sabai, and  Daw Hsu Myat Noe Hnin.

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