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5. Activities carried out

5.1 Contacts established
5.2 Visits of markets
5.3 Fieldtrips
5.4 Briefing of price collectors
5.5 Other activities

5.1 Contacts established

Visits of many Organizations and interviews with the Senior Staff were efficiently organized by the project staff, including:

· Department of Agricultural Planning (DAP)

· Myanmar Agricultural Service (MAS)
· Department of Land Use (DLU/MAS)
· Department of Extension (DE/MAS)

· Department of Settlement and Land Records (SLRD)

· Myanmar Cotton and Sericulture Enterprise
· Myanmar Sugarcane Enterprise
· Myanmar Perennial Crops Enterprise

· UNDP/FAO project MYA/96/006 - Food security and Income opportunities in the Dry Zone

· Myanmar Agricultural Produce Trade (a Department of the Ministry of Trade)
· Department of Border Trade

· Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications

· Yangon City Development Council (YCDC)

· Central Statistics Organization (CSO)

· Yangon Economics Institute

· Ms. Ikuko Okamoto, Japanese Research Fellow.

· International Business Centre

Attempts to make appointments with the Ministry Information and the Yangon Chamber of Commerce were unsuccessful. The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries will be contacted during the second mission.

The National project staff also visited the Yangon Railways office and took care of follow-up visits to certain Agencies, in order to obtain additional information and/or published material and statistical tables.

5.2 Visits of markets

The major markets of Yangon were all visited twice, as they provide a wealth of information on marketing channels, the food supply of Yangon, the main surplus areas, inter-State trading and transport and packaging practices.

· Thirimingala is the main food & vegetable wholesale market

· Bayin-naung is the major wholesale market for "dry" commodities: rice, pulses, onion, potato, dried chillie, garlic

· The "New Boo Tree" market is a new market for fruits/vegetables/flowers, well situated to supply the northern parts of the City.

· There is a specialized fish market fairly close to the Thirimingala fruit and vegetable market.

5.3 Fieldtrips

Several fieldtrips were undertaken for the purpose of market reconnaissance, experimenting with methods to be used during the study, testing of questionnaires and on-the-job training of the Team in those techniques.

Mandalay Division

The MAS office in Mandalay had organized a good program of visits and interviews:

· The Town Hall of Mandalay City was visited and the In-charge of Markets and Abattoirs was met.

· One of the major Oil Millers was interviewed; he is also the Treasurer of the Mandalay Division of the Chambre of Commerce

· The famous Mandalay Crop Trading Center (Brokerage House) was visited at length and the display of crop samples and transactions were observed.

· The main Town market of Mandalay was visited, with interviews of an onion wholesaler and fruit and vegetables traders.

· Visit of Hill station Pyin U Lwin; much vegetable and fruit cultivation was seen in the area.

· Meiktila, visit of an oil mill

· Meiktila: visit of an chick pea processing mill

· Kyauk pa daung Township, meeting with the project staff of the FAO/UNDP Dry Zone project

· Yezin Agric. Research Center and Agricultural University; meeting with the Rector Dr. Kyaw Than, Ms. Dolly Kyaw, Head Department Agric. Economics and a tour of the Departments.

Shan State

· Aungban, visit of a garlic collector

· Aungban, visit of a tomato collector

· The MAS office of Taunggyi organized the visit of a garlic broker, who is also Chairman of the Association of Traders

· Visit of Inle Lake, observation of tomato "floating cultivation"

· Interview of farmers and traders at a cabbage collection point (junction of small road used by ox-carts and a major road used by trucks)

Bago Division

· Visit of a sugar factory under construction at Taung-zin-aye near Laiy-wei town

Ayeyarwady Division

· Meeting with staff of MAS, Pathein

· Visit of big rice mill, Miller also Chairman of Millers Association

· Kyonpyaw produces banana, transported by boat to Yangon

· Danubyu Township is very productive in mung bean (black gram), the harvest season being February; a jute farmer was interviewed.

· Henzada is probably the major banana production area in the country; bananas are planted on bunds of paddy fields and as orchards on higher land between areas of paddy fields; a banana trader and a pulses collector were interviewed.

A new bridge spanning the Ayeyarwady will soon be opened for trucks and buses. It is expected to have a big impact on marketing as much water transport will shift to road with significantly lower costs and time loss.

Yangon Division

· Visit of a village in Hmaube Township, Yangon North District; the village Chairman is a large farmer, rice miller and small-scale collector of paddy.

Mon State

· Crop observations along the route Yangon - Bago - Kyaikto - Thaton: rice, sugarcane, rubber (also intercropped with pineapple), cashew, oil palm, durian and other fruit trees, variety of annual crops like eggplant, pole bean, betel vine, groundnut and maize

· Nyangkhashe area: old sugar factory and big paper factory, using bamboo.

· Cheiko village tract near Thaton: intensive fruit trade (durian, mangosteen, rambutan, pineapple, jackfruit).

· Township and District Thaton. Meeting with MAS staff and interview of rice wholesaler (also produces salt in coastal evaporation pans)

· Interview with pulses trader in Cheiko.

· Interview with fruit trader in Cheiko.

Cheiko is considered to be the first producing area of durian, rambutan and mangosteen. Another highly productive area is Mudon, further to the South.

Exceptionally heavy truck traffic was noted, the main destination being the Myawaddy border post with Thailand. Commodities exported are onion, potato, chillie, rice, pulses, pigs, poultry and cattle. Trucks are returning with all kind of consumer goods (bicycles and shoes were noted).

5.4 Briefing of price collectors

Price Collectors had been nominated already, well before the arrival of the Consultant. The 3 Price Collectors of Yangon were briefed and then set to work filling the market questionnaire for Yangon markets.

Price Collectors in Mandalay, Shan State, Ayaywardi and Mon State were met during fieldtrips and were also associated immediately with market reconnaissance and filling of questionnaires.

5.5 Other activities

In close cooperation with the National Staff a detailed workplan was drawn up, specifying the sequence and duration of major project activities and Consultancy inputs (see Annex 1)

One of the major activities during this period was the preparation for a detailed Study of the Marketing System. Questionnaires for farmers, traders, millers and markets were designed, translated in Myanmar language and tested. The Terms of Reference for the Study are attached as Annex 2 and the various questionnaires are shown as Annex 3.

An example was provided for the processing and analysis of the data collected for rice farmers, using a tabulation format in Excel. For most data elements it will be a simple matter of counting the frequency of different possibilities, while in a few cases an average or range is to be calculated. Similar tabulation forms can easily be designed for the other types of questionnaires.

The study will be carried out during the main (monsoon) season. Therefore certain crops grown during the other season(s) can not be adequately covered. A similar, smaller-scale study should be carried out to cover the marketing of winter and pre-monsoon crops.

A first draft was prepared of the travel schedule necessary to cover all States/Divisions and commodities selected for the Study. The schedule will be amended after detailed planning by the National Staff and is to be presented to the FAO Representative.

Project resources under "Contracts" will be used to facilitate this study. Therefore contracts were signed by 3 staff members of DAP/MOAI and the FAOR office, see Annex 4.

The FAOR office agreed to facilitate the Marketing Study by making the project vehicle available in accordance with a detailed travel plan to be submitted by the NPD. However, this vehicle serves also for visiting experts of other TCP projects, which has to be worked out in mutual agreement.

Acquisition of project equipment. A camera was purchased, to be used to document project activities and to capture marketing scenes to be inserted in the study report and eventually other publications. An English dictionary was also bought.

All other items listed in the project document are available locally at competitive prices and quotations were obtained from several suppliers for computers, printers, scanner, photocopier, fax machines, motorcycles and bicycles. Ordering of the equipment can probably be completed in June.

A request was sent to the Country Project Officer, RAPA, Bangkok for raising the allotment advice for equipment acquisition. However, new and very different financial procedures are being introduced for all FAO offices and some delay is therefore expected.

Towards the end of the mission, on Thursday 3 June, a meeting of Senior Staff was held in DAP/MOAI for a presentation of project progress after the first month and a group discussion. Presentations were made by the NPD, the FAO Consultant and the National Consultant.

The meeting was attended by the Senior Staff of DAP and several Crop Enterprises of MOAI, as well as the FAO Representative. There was lively and constructive discussion on issues such as the desirability of improved varieties with better export potential, introduction of a grading system, the sustainability of the project after the end of FAO inputs, availability of soil and land use maps and the possibility of setting up an independent radio service by MOAI. It was agreed that participants in the study tours planned for Sept. '99 will study the issue of agricultural radio and TV programs in the countries visited. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture in Cambodia has a Media Unit, established with assistance from AusAid.

The Consultant pointed out that attempts to make an appointment with the Ministry of Information had been unsuccessful, but that assurance is needed that the market information generated by the project will find an outlet on the National radio. It was stated by DAP that they will pursue this matter vigorously and expect no problems in obtaining regular radio time.

The next day, Friday 4 June a training session was held for the Price Collectors/MIS Officers from the 8 States/Divisions selected. Representatives from several Crop Enterprises and the Yangon City Development Council attended also. MAS, Yangon made their excellent conference hall available for the purpose, free of charge.

The session was opened by Dep. GM Kyi Win. The program started with short presentations by Director Tin Htut Oo and the FAO Consultant. The main course consisted of detailed explanations on how to conduct interviews with farmers, traders and millers and how to fill the relevant questionnaires. From 6 AM the following morning, visits were paid to the two major wholesale markets of Yangon. The participants were divided in groups and sent to interview traders of specific commodities. The full group was received by the officials of the YCDC, responsible for market operation and by the Chairman of the Rice Traders Association.

It was agreed that the project will provide a modest daily allowance for the participants. Due to delay in providing the list of participants, this payment is still due and can be distributed by the project Team during travel for the marketing study in June/July/August.

There is provision for a Study Tour for 4 National staff working for the MIS project. Ideally two teams of two will visit two countries in the Region each. While in the RAPA office, Bangkok, the Consultant contacted the Executive Director of AFMA, Mr. Mukul Raj Satyal was contacted, who offered to use his AFMA contacts in most countries of Asia to approach the Philippines and Malaysia on the subject of hosting a study tour.

E-mail messages were sent out to the FAO Representatives in Sri Lanka and Cambodia with the request to approach, respectively the Agrarian Research and Training Institute and the Agricultural Marketing Office in the Ministry of Agriculture on the same subject. As the best time for the study tour is September '99, nomination of candidates by the Myanmar Gvt. needs to be pursued urgently.

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