Young Organic Farmer (YOF) 2015

Mekong Youth Alliance for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology Workshop

20th -26th October 2015 in Myanmar

From 20th-26th October 2015 in Myanmar, 20 youth delegates from TOA partners in Bhutan and Mekong countries attended the 4th Mekong YOF workshops and exchanges in 2015. The program aimed to promote diversified organic farming and agroecology through knowledge and experience exchanges.  Mekong YOFs program has developed as a network since 2012 and currently has more than 160 members across the Mekong Region. The expected results of the 6-day workshop were to inspire wider groups, and share practical knowledge and experiences of system changes and opportunities in farming. 

The first day started by a boat trip along Inlay Lake to see and learn how to grow floating plants from locals as their way of life. The second day, hosting organization, Kanlayanamittra Foundation explained the situation of plants and seeds conservation in Myanmar, particularly, the ecological systems around Inlay Lake that need to protect and conserve further losses of biological diversity. The third day was a 5-hour journey by boat to Southern Shan State where some areas were considered as the black areas, which means the political situation is not stable due to ongoing fighting between the government and the ethnic armed groups such as Kayan New Land Party (KNLP), Kayan National Guard (KNG), Shan armed groups, etc. But recently it has become a brown area which means the situation is still unstable but reduction infighting compared with a couple of years before.

This was an opportunity for local livelihood learning by experience sharing in farming and food production with local people before starting of community observation on the fourth day. Afterwards,participants brought learning issues from the observation into exchange by sharing their agricultural situations and experiences from their own country.Participants also had a chance to observe local rice wine making at Kaung Hwut village. Local seed selection and hunting was also explored by participants before leaving on the last day.

Before the workshop ended, all youth delegates seta manifesto together for ‘Mekong Youth alliance for organic agriculture and Agro-Ecology – Occupy Your Life’ in 2015. They wrote the manifesto to support the agricultural systems that included health of individuals, community, nature and economy. They outlined the need for small and slow solutions in agricultural development and planning in order to deal with the global challenges. Innovative young farmers offer these solutions that deserve to be supported. The next 5th Mekong YOFs will be in Cambodia.

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