The TCP project is considered to have started in May 1999 and will be terminated end-December 2000. The budget of the FAO contribution was originally $ 272,000, but was raised to $ 297,000 to accommodate the purchase of a 4WD vehicle.
MOAI has accorded high priority to the project. Well before the arrival of the Consultant, staff from DAP and MAS had been assigned to the project. The NPD is Mr. Aung Hlaing, assisted closely by Mr. Boon Thein. The National Consultant, to be employed for 9 months is Mr. Kyaw Myint. Mrs. Mar Lar Oo and Mr. Tin Shein are also working on the project. The DAP will be the focal point for the project, while close cooperation with MAS is assured. The Officer selected for the National Consultant post originates from MAS.
In each of the 8 States/Divisions provisionally identified for coverage under the MIS, 3 staff members were assigned as Price Collectors. As most of these are quite senior and experienced staff, it is suggested to upgrade their title to MIS Field Officers or Market Research Officers.
In April '99 a meeting of senior staff of MOAI was held and the Price Collectors nominated were also invited to attend. Collection of weekly wholesale prices from 10 Townships was then initiated. Prices are communicated every Monday to DAP, Yangon for publication. Articles on marketing have been published in the Myanma Agricultural News, the weekly newsletter of MOAI.
The International Consultant in Market Information Services is also the lead consultant, responsible for overall management of the FAO contributions, including training, equipment and contracts. The first mission of 1.25 months was carried out in May/June and the second of 2.5 months is planned for the period October to mid-December '99.
The International Consultant in Market Information Computerization is planned to join the project for 1.25 months, in November/early December '99. Her main task will be the design of a data processing system for the MIS, but there is also much scope for training staff of DAP and MAS in additional computer skills and the introduction of new software packages.
An Export Market Intelligence Consultant is to be recruited under the FAO Partnership Program. His/her mission of 1.5 months should ideally take place from mid-September to end-October '99.
The foreign trade of Myanmar is divided in the "regular" import/export by ocean shipping, mainly from Yangon harbour and so-called "border trade", mainly by road to and from China, Thailand, Bangla Desh and India. The latter includes much "informal" trade. The Consultancy should cover both aspects, which will need quite different approaches. Access to the Internet would clearly be of great advantage. A limited number of subscriptions will be made available son and the DAP has already applied to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
The last Consultancy, for 2.5 months in one mission, also under the FAO Partnership Program, concerns Marketing Extension. His/her main task is training of the Extension Service, who will in their turn sensitize the farmers how to make best use of the MIS. The planned period is April to mid-June 2000.
The purchase of equipment will be in accordance with the project document, page 9. It is proposed to but at least one motorcycle for each of 8 States/Divisions, against only 4 foreseen in the project document. The additional cost will be more than offset by savings in the purchase of computer hardware.
It is proposed to use funds from this budget item also for dictionaries, encyclopedia, technical literature and subscription to journals and magazines.
A modest start was already made with in-country training. The selected Price Collectors of MAS and also several Crop Enterprises gathered in Yangon for one day of classroom training and a half day of market data collection. More thorough training will be organized in December '99. Preparations are also under way for the Study tour of project staff to 4 Asian countries.