“Forest users to producers: Scaling up FFPOs business and enterprises”, Asian FFPOs Regional Conference, 20-22 November 2017, Myanmar
This conference was held from 20 to 22 November in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar with the main theme “From users to producers: Scaling up FFPOs business to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in climate resilient landscapes”. A preceding three-day exchange trip involved 57 of the conference participants in a visit to the Wuyan community forest and associated rattan business and planned sawmill in Wiang Maw Township, Kachin State. This led into the conference itself which involved two days of discussion sandwiching a field trip to the model Yoe Sone community forest with its Sterculia resin enterprise in Wun Dwin Township, Mandalay State.
Objectives of the Conference
The objectives of the Conference were to:
Opening of the Conference
The conference opened with a strong statement of support for FFPOs by H.E. U Ohn Win, the Union Minister of MONREC, Myanmar. He noted their important role in reducing poverty and protecting the natural environment. He also noted how recent revisions to the Community Forest Instructions within Myanmar, the establishment of a Community Forest Unit in the Forestry Department and a Community Forestry National Working Group (CFNWG) aimed to unleash FFPOs potential in the country. Further welcome remarks by Ms Xiaojie Fan, the FAO representative in Myanmar and Mr Aung Thant Zin, CEO of Myanmar Environmental Rehabilitation Network (MERN) and Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) Facilitator for Myanmar observed how FFPOs play a central role not only in Myanmar but in many of the other eleven Asian countries represented at the conference – which provided a strong justification for learning from each others innovations and best practices in learning exchanges and regional conferences such as this.
Outcome of the Conference
As a major outcome from the conference participants jointly developed Key Messages, Issues and Challenges, Progress, Innovations and Solutions, and Strategic Recommendations to scale up FFPOs businesses in Asia.
Field visit to Yoe Sone community forestry
Participants of the conference visited the Yoe Sone Community Forest (CF), which has initiated an agroforestry system in 2004 and was certified as a community forest in 2005. The total member of households in Yoe Sone Community Forest is 84 and the total area is 222 acres of which 192 acres are agroforestry areas. It is located in Wan twin Township, Mandalay region. It will be awarded the National Globe Energy award in 2017. U Own Nyunt, chairman of the CF initiated the agroforestry system, growing Sterculia trees and agricultural crops, such as bean, peas and sesame within 5 acre of his CF area. After 7 years, the resin of Sterculia could sold to China, subsequently; the daily income of his household increased significantly. Due to his success, others members of the Community forest have also replicated similar agroforestry systems in the CF area.
Business incubation exchange visit with FFPOs, 17 – 19 November 2017, Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar
The exchange took place in Kachin state in the North East of Myanmar. The focus was on business incubation. Participants from ten Asian countries including the three FFF partner countries of Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam (57 people from 10 countries in total). The intention was to show how local NGO groups are working to establish community forest and farm producer organisations (FFPOs) and develop viable business ideas in Myanmar and to share their own experiences.