Myanmar Country Assessment 2017

The farming workshop was held during 7-8 October 2016, Gum Sha Aung and Metta Team invited the partner organizations in Myanmar for discussion and working together from different case studies- Metta, GSMI, KMF, and KMSS. The Myanmar Country Assessment, the group had summary and compilation on:

The analysis and synthesis workshop was a very useful process for looking at the big picture,however data are unreliable in Myanmar. The team has aimed to finish the case study by 15 December 2016 and start consolidating the study. To publish the study handbook, the team has to check the possibility and the budget.

Analysis and Synthesis Workshop

1-2 December 2016, Metta Development Foundation, Yangon, Myanmar

The country assessment is under planning of TOA partners in Myanmar. The focus of the assessment are on policy and practical level particularly, challenges in agriculture and opportunities. In 2016, Metta has organized a workshop for Sharing of data collected, analysis of data Implications and potential actions for the consortium, and action plan to finalize the study. TOA coordinator (Narumon Paiboonsittikun) was invited to participate in the analysis and synthesis workshop.

Myanmar Country Assessment Report

The Assessment Report by Ko Myat Thu was finished by 11 August.The main findings at a glance, Eco-farming and organic agriculture practices in Myanmar are not well documented. Joint or coordinated action is limited. In this report, Towards Organic Asia (TOA) partners in Myanmar have collated their experiences relating to eco-farming and organic agriculture. Data has also come from consultations with 26 key stakeholders and a review of literature. The main findings presented include a situation description, a compilation of case study experiences and an outline of opportunities and constraints.  Potential strategies for joint action are proposed.

The report addressed the Potential TOA partner strategies. Initial strategies emerge from considering the situation description,case study findings, capturing opportunities and addressing constraints. These include:

  1. Enhancing data availability on eco-farming. Without rigorous data about production, markets, value chains or benefits, there will not be convincing arguments to influence mainstream policies or actors. Widening the scope of this study by including other case studies would be a good first step. Further actions, collectively or individually, should also aim to contribute to the available data (through action research), supported by appropriate scientific and economic studies
  2. Continuing to highlight social, environmental and economic aspects of eco-farming.  In particular, TOA partners make a very important contribution of describing social aspects, including fair trade, inclusion of small-scale farming families, informed choice, mutual respect and increased wellbeing. Economic aspects need further attention
  3. Actively connecting to a range of networks in Myanmar to progress advocacy on related policy issues (e.g. consumers, seed, land, agro-ecology, etc.) that impact immensely on smallholder farmers and market participants. These networks are necessarily broader than just with other organic actors, in order to increase influence.  The main engagement with government and private sector can be through these networks rather than as a TOA network.  Connections should also utilise social media
  4. Actively connecting to regional and international networks, including those related to Organics 3.0 and Agro-Ecology
  5. Jointly researching and progressing local seed availability and use, as local seeds are not likely to be reliant on heavy external (chemical) inputs.  This will include participative investigation and trialling of suitable varieties, developing collection and conservation mechanisms, promoting and marketing seeds and enhancing learning between different actors
  6. Seeking opportunities for collaboration with Yezin Agricultural University, to enhance policy engagement, technical input and to develop human resources for eco-farming
  7. Improving core competencies in social enterprise and value chain development.  Vital initial steps are to access the range of skills needed, through partnership and recruitment of qualified people, and to ensure interventions cover a range of value chain actors. It is also essential to develop quality marketing and business plans, have an external market focus and scale-up to have a broader impact. Increasing links with the private sector is likely to be a part of this strategy
  8. Trialling Participatory Guarantee Systems, perhaps by converting some of the current ‘internal’ market examples described in this study to meet IFOAM guidelines, expanding current farmer rice seed production systems, or by developing new examples. This strategy reflects a commitment to creating trust between producers and consumers, whilst avoiding some of the pitfalls with certification
  9. Seeking ways to address constraints, especially input availability and labour, as well as encouraging access to markets and understanding of value chains.  It is noted that there are no easy answers here
  10. Maintaining this network and building on its commitment. TOA partners can build on their current partnerships and the momentum already established during this study.  Further analysis and further development of these strategies by Myanmar partners is needed.  These strategies and findings should be presented to other partners in other TOA countries and also bring in their experience

Recommendations for TOA partners

  1. For TOA partners in Myanmar to discuss and analyse these findings and potential strategies, and develop a strategic plan for promoting socially-just eco-farming in Myanmar
  2. For TOA partners in Myanmar to commission a translation of relevant parts of this report into Myanmar language and make it available to partners, so they can prepare for relevant workshops and engage wider audiences
  3. For TOA partners in Myanmar to convene a national workshop for sharing and progressing these findings.  TOA partners should present their case studies, as well the findings and initial strategies
  4. For TOA partners in Myanmar to engage TOA regionally, and other networks, by sharing these findings with them

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