Thursday, July 9, 2020

AMD and IRRI conducts training course on rice straw management amidst pandemic

U Soe Hlaing, DG of AMD, delivering the welcome message to the participants and staff of AMD.

The Agricultural Development Support Project (ADSP) in Myanmar conducted its second rice straw management training using a blended training methodology of online lectures and practical field exercises on 22 June to 3 July 2020 in Yezin, Naypyidaw.

Facilitated by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Agricultural Mechanization Department (AMD) and financed by the World Bank, ADSP aims to support the country’s goal of increasing crop yields and cropping intensity in the central plains as a means to achieve economic development and food security.

“We adapted the training in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic through a combination of virtual lectures provided by IRRI scientists and practical exercises provided by the local trainers from IRRI, Agricultural Machinery Training Center, and BioPark Research Center who attended the first of training in November 2019," said Nguyen Van Hung, an expert on mechanization at IRRI’s Postharvest and Mechanization Cluster, who served as one of the resource persons.

Thirty (30) male participants from different AMD stations attended the two-week training. The participants were provided hands-on training on the sustainable rice straw management options,  mushroom production, rice straw composting, improving rice straw feedstock for ruminants, setting-up digestion biodigester, mechanized rice straw collection and development of business plans and business model principles.

A snap shot on one of the virtual lectures  during the training.

The trainees actively participated throughout the duration of the training course even though  face-to-face classroom discussions were cancelled ro reduce health risks. The novel blended training methodology worked well with the trainees and the resource persons. The efforts of local AMD and IRRI staff, who facilitated the hands-on exercises in the field and addressed urgent concerns during the field activities, complemented the online training.

“I learned new things on biogas, mushroom production, and compost making using rice straw in theory and in practice,” U Yan Naing Myo, a staff officer at AMD’s Training Center in Meiktila.“I was not familiar with these before. They were very interesting and very useful for our country. Now I can share these technologies on rice straw management with farmers today and the generations to come.”

U Aung Naing Win, an AMD staff from Tatkon, welcomed the new information such as the proper ratio of making rice straw compost. Although he is already familiar rice straw baler operation as part of his day-to-day work, he appreciated further knowledge from the training.

U Soe Hlaing, director general of AMD, expressed his gratitude to the participants and IRRI for facilitating the training despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He encouraged his staff to proactively participate and learn about the technologies that are available internationally and not be limited to traditional rice cultivation techniques.

Hands-on baler operation

In a message, Robert Caudwell, head of the IRRI Myanmar Office,  thanked everyone who participated in the training and cited the training approach. “The blended methodology worked out very well and enabled the training to be conducted during the Covid-19 travel restrictions,” he said. “Many thanks to the AMD director general and the IRRI team.”

The training was spearheaded by the IRRI Myanmar Office under Dr. Caudwell and his staff, Amy Thein, Gyaw Shine Oo, and Nay Chi Aye who provided translations of the online lectures and discussions. In addition to Dr. Hung, Carlito Balingbing,  a scientist at the Mechanization and Postharvest Cluster, also provided lectures via the online platform.


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