Wednesday, September 12, 2018

IRRI, World Bank team up to strengthen post-harvest management in Myanmar

A robust seed system is the "backbone" of a vibrant rice production sector.

To strengthen the agricultural systems of different areas in the country, IRRI, in partnership with the World Bank, launched the Agricultural Development Support Project (ADSP) which aims to increase rice productivity in the 4 pilot project regions under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation (MOALI): Bago, Naypyitaw, Mandalay, and Sagaing.

Myanmar is the highest per capita rice consuming country in world (140.8 kg milled rice per person per year) and majority of its population depend on the agricultural sector for livelihood. This makes it imperative for the agricultural sector of the country to increase their knowledge and adopt technologies that can improve their harvest.

As part of its advisory and capacity building services, IRRI conducted a “Hands-on Quality Seed Production and Post-Harvest Managament Training” under the sub-component: (2.1) Crop variety selection, development and seed multiplication. A five-day hands-on training was organized in Bago, Naypyitaw, Mandalaw, and Sagaing regions. Participants of the training were exposed to lessons on quality rice seed production, post-harvest processes, and techniques in addressing issues commonly faced by farmers, researchers, and seed production agencies.

The training consisted of lectures tackling important topics such as seed and rice morphology, critical growth stages of rice, best practices in seed production, seed certification and quality control, and best post harvest techniques to keep the purity of seed. These lectures are complimented with field exercises that aimed to develop the practical knowledge of the participants. These exercises include the selection of representative panicles to sow directly in raised beds, panicle to row transplanting, rouguing at all the growth stages (seedling, late vegetative, booting, flowering and maturity) for nucleus seed production, selection of high quality seed and handling the breeder seed, foundation seed, registered seed and foundation seed production from sowing to maturity. All participants were encouraged to ask questions and voice out their concerns, which led to an interactive and informative exchange between experts and learners.

According to one of the participants, the training was a “wonderful hands-on experience that provided farmers comprehensive knowledge about quality seed production and post harvest technology”. He added, “it gave a very detailed experience on the critical stages of seed production, providing us with a sense of confidence that we can do good for the seed value chain in Myanmar”.

The exercises were facilitated by Daw Myint Yi and Tin Ohnmar Win from the Myanmar Department of Agriculture DAR, and Dr. R.K. Singh, Engr. Martin Gummert, Engr. Carlito Balingbing, and Daw Tintin Myint from IRRI. 

Mr. Min Zaw Oo represented Project Director U Bo Bo Kyaw and graced the event as Chief Guest. Dr. Ye Tin Thut, Director General of DOA and Mr. Naing Kyi Win, Director General of DAR, delivered messages to the participants.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Naing Kyi Win said, “learning from IRRI experts is a valuable experience for Myanmar researchers, especially to the younger generations, because many of our researchers are nearing retirement. This enables us to pass down the knowledge to a newer generation”. He also encouraged the young researchers to be in touch with their trainers to resolve their practical problems on field, as most of the issues they face are better solved through experience. 

The training program was held on 27-31 August 2018, at the Department of Agricultural Research, Yezin. It was coordinated by Dr. R.K. Singh, Senior Scientist IRRI and was attended by fifty participants from the Department of Agriculture (DOA), DAR and the NGO sector.  

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