Since August 2018, the MYA/002 Agricultural Production Support team in close collaboration with the Department of Agriculture improved the knowledge in basic agricultural techniques of 45 participants from 21 villages of the 5 Tract area of Kyaing Tong township.
Identifying the most common diseases in paddy rice
Over the course of 3 days, the participants were introduced how to recognize the different types of soil and the most common diseases and pests in paddy crops. The training further included practical exercises in how to set up a compost heap to produce natural fertiliser as well as how to mix natural pesticides from garlic and soap for instance. As many of the farmers work on mountainous terrain, the technique of how to plot a sloping land using an A-frame was very informative to them.
The trainings were delivered in Burmese with a translation into the local dialect of either La Hu or Shan. Information cards were handed out to the participants to support the theory with pictures and images so that even illiterate farmers are able to understand the information more easily. The trainees are invited to share their knowledge with their peers.
Finding the bug in the rice field
Besides the training sessions, the project team visited those initial 21 villages and recruited farmers interested in setting up a vegetable garden (called home garden) as well as model farms with long term crops such as tea, coffee and/or fruit trees amongst the most common long term crops. The response from the villagers was phenomenal as more than 450 people are interested in setting up home gardens and 91 volunteered to try out the model farm concept. Home gardens are not very common in the villages as they are always ravaged by free ranging chicken and pigs but also most farmers are not very familiar with the needs or techniques of growing vegetables properly. The villagers would however be very happy to also see a change in their diet and are happy to learn how to grow them.
Visiting a farm in Loi Mwe growing cabbage and tea in a mixed plot
To wrap up this initial training, the project invited the trainees to a learning trip to the Loi Mwe area to visit the model and research farm from the Department of Agriculture, the famous tea village of Ba Wei (with over 70 year old tea plants), a farm/home garden plot as well as a multi crop (elephant foot yam, pineapple and pine trees) plantation on sloping land. For some this trip was also an adventure as it was the first time for them driving in a bus and also to have slept in a guest house. However, such learning trips are so important to help the trainees to better understand the theory as well as to exchange with other farmers in the area.
Ba Wei tea master showing how the fried green tea needs to be macerated before drying
In the upcoming months the project will support the volunteers with the necessary seeds, seedlings, tools and other material to set up their home gardens and model farms. The MYA/002 team and its partners are looking forward to soon be tasting those homegrown vegetables in a few weeks time.
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