Extension agents of the Department of Agriculture (DoA) and farmers from Sagaing region underwent a two-day hands-on training and participated in discussions about best practices in rice postharvest management during the 6th and 7th sessions on Postharvest management of the Training of Trainers on Implementing Farmer Field School on Integrated Crop Management for Climate Smart Rice Production in Yinmarbin Township, Myanmar. The postharvest session is part of the season long training which commenced in August through to December 2019. The session is led by the IRRI Postharvest team as part of the capacity building training of the World Bank-funded Agricultural Development Support Project in Myanmar.
To strengthen knowledge and skills of the extension and development workers of the DOA, the participants were taught about the principles of mechanized harvesting, drying, hermetic storage and how to understand rice quality. These were relayed through field discussions and hands-on exercises about using IRRI quality kit, sun drying and hermetic storage bag.
“Now I have more knowledge and learned about specific technology on rice postharvest. I will share with the farmers the knowledge I learned from the training by conducting meetings and technology demonstrations at the Integrated High Technology Demonstration Village, a twice a week extension program of the DOA,” according to Daw Yin Yin Kyae of DOA-Kani.
“I learned about the details of rice postharvest chain in this training. Farmers in our village currently use traditional methods on rice postharvest management but from what I learned, I can impart to the farmers the use of hermetic storage bags. Pest is one of the main problems of farmers in storage, but with the hermetic storage I am confident that they will be able to store seeds for a long time without affecting the quality,” said Daw Thin Thin Aye, DOA-Yinmarbin.
U Myo Shwe, an extension agent of DOA-Yinmarbin, also said, “I learned about drying technology and how to measure moisture content of grain using a device, and monitoring temperature during drying. The importance of this training for my work is having the ammunition of knowledge being a link to farmers especially on maintaining quality which is important to farmers. In this area, there are many farmers who are producing their seeds, I can be more effective in my work through this knowledge in helping farmers produce quality seeds and improve milling yield of rice so they can get more profit.”
On the second day of training, the extension agents facilitated a learning session to share what they learned on the first day. They echoed the discussions and hands-on exercises with the farmers, with each group focusing on a specific topic on rice postharvest management. Each topic was presented in a plenary followed by exercises on best practices on sun dying, hermetic storage, and understanding rice quality.
According to, Daw Khin Win Shwe, a participant from Lat Hlote Village, Yinmarbin Township, “These good field practices would allow us to harvest good grains without re-wetting them during harvest in the flooded field and avoiding damage to grains such as discoloration and fungi infestations because poor quality grains have lower price in the market which affects our income.”
Ko Aung Paing Soe, a 23-year old farmer from Nga Maung Village, Yinmarbin said that more time is needed so they can gain more experience on postharvest management. “The knowledge we gained from here will help us improve our farm practices to reduce losses during postharvest. The hermetic storage system also gave us information to reduce of chemicals such as aluminium phosphate for storage of pea and wheat,” he said.
The training, held from August to December 2019, was attended by 26 development and extension agents of the Department of Agriculture (DoA) and 15 farmers from the Sagaing region.