2017 - 2020
MEDA in partnership with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) aims to improve smallholder farming practices through training and demonstration plots, and facilitate market linkages to support farmers to sell their produce.
Due to more than sixty years of armed conflict, Kayin State in Southern Myanmar has been isolated and economically disadvantaged from other regions of Myanmar. As a result, Kayin State has high levels of outward migration to Thailand and many internally displaced populations (IDPs) scattered throughout the country, as well as lacking critical infrastructure and access to government support services. In agriculture, this includes lack of extension agent capacity to train farmers on improved agricultural practices and little means to provide incentives for agriculture sector development. However, the motivation to do something productive with the land is high, as government has stressed that land which is not used for a beneficial purpose may be confiscated and allocated for other interests. With many refugees and IDP’s moving back to the area to reclaim land and pursue greater incomes and livelihoods, local vegetable agriculture has an opportunity to grow in the region and stem the tide of agricultural imports from Thailand.
EWS already has good market share for its vegetable seed sales in Myanmar, however, not across all parts of the country. This initiative allows EWS to grow its seed sales in a new state, which is rebuilding following 60 years of armed conflict. Supply chain actors, including input suppliers, traders and wholesalers will benefit from the availability of new products and business opportunities. Around 6,000 farmers will increase their productivity and incomes through access to new, higher yielding vegetable seed varieties and the use of better farming techniques.
The ADVANCE Myanmar partnership pilots the development of a new regional market for East West Seed (EWS), an international seed supplier in Kayin, Myanmar, primarily using a ‘woman lead farmer’ model. This initiative aims to improve smallholder farming practices through training and demonstration plots, and facilitate market linkages to support farmers to sell their produce.
This initiative brings together two organizations already active in agriculture in Myanmar: EWS and MEDA. Through MEDA’s Improving Market Opportunities for Women (IMOW) project, MEDA is currently active in 29 villages in Kayin, improving rice production and working closely with the private sector. EWS is working with over 4,000 smallholder farmers in other parts of Myanmar, and across South East and South Asia.
This initiative promotes women’s economic empowerment by improving female farmers’ as well as male farmers’ knowledge and practices in growing market vegetables and forming new market linkages for the sale of their products. In addition, it enhances women’s voices in community leadership by promoting lead farmers and sales agents.
- EWS Seed varieties are widely available in Kayin to smallholder producers
- A market has developed for high quality seeds and other agri-inputs in Kayin
- Farmers have increased access to quality farm inputs and information, including sustainable agricultural production practices
- The women lead farmer inclusive approach is well documented with lessons learned shared with key stakeholders in Myanmar on how to integrate women farmers in pre-farm gate and market activities