La resiliencia
Targeting 6 000 families, FAO started the provision of rice seed in Inn Gyin Myaing and Tha Yet Kin Ma Nu Villages in Buthidaung township.

Myanmar | Improving farming productivity in Rakhine State

01/07/2020

Rakhine State, along the western coast of Myanmar, is home to approximately 3.3 million people, many of whom depend on agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture to make a living. However, since 2012, repeated outbreaks of armed conflicts and intercommunal violence, mostly in the central areas of Rakhine State, have led to civilian displacement. 

As of 8 June, approximately 70 000 newly internally displaced persons (IDPs) are being hosted in camps or camp-like settings across 165 sites in Rakhine State (Source: Rakhine State Government). Worsening the situation is the region’s vulnerability to floods, cyclones and earthquakes. 

This combination of factors is undermining food security and threatening the agricultural productivity of hundreds of thousands of people in Rakhine State. Insecurity has led to lower production on farms. Movement restrictions due to the conflict and more recently COVID-19 government restrictions are limiting people’s ability to work or to engage in production activities to earn a living. These factors combined translate into low productivity, which means that people have less access to sufficient, diversified and nutritious foods, as well as less income and reduced access to food. 

Other challenges that farmers face include inferior farming methods and practices, lack of labor, poor access to agricultural inputs, limited access to water during the dry season, and water scarcity due to lack of infrastructure. 

By the end of 2018, with the support from the European Union, FAO began to implement the Improving Food and Nutrition Security project in the northern parts of Rakhine State – supporting communities in the Buthidaung, Kyauktaw, Maungdaw, and Rathedaung townships to rebuild and protect agricultural livelihoods.

Training and equipping farmers

Under this project, on 5-6 June 2020, FAO, together with the Agriculture Mechanization Department and Phyu Sin Saydanar Action Group, conducted training for over 30 farmers on basic skills related to managing, maintaining and repairing mechanized power tillers. The training was provided to equip farmers with the skills needed for maintaining and repairing the mechanized tools in use in the villages. A total of 15 machines were provided for use in 12 villages to help farmers prepare their land for the monsoon planting season. 

In Maungdaw, on 7-8 June 2020, FAO, together with the Agriculture Mechanization Department and Action for Green Earth, conducted training for over 30 farmers on basic skills related to managing, maintaining, and repairing mechanized power tillers. A total of 19 machines were provided for use in 15 villages to help farmers prepare their land for the monsoon-planting season. 

Village mechanization committees

Under this project, FAO also supported the set-up of Village mechanization committees, with the aim to strengthen community assets. These committees serve to manage the farmers’use of the power tillers. Its members, village residents, oversee the use and renting of the equipment in their respective villages. The committees are responsible for repairing and maintaining the equipment. They are also responsible for helping farmers to make use of the power tillers to increase 

Providing rice seed in Rakhine State

Targeting 6 000 families, FAO has started the provision of rice seed in Inn Gyin Myaing and Tha Yet Kin Ma Nu Villages in Buthidaung township. FAO, together with Myanmar Heart Development Organization, People for People and Phyu Sin Saytanar Activity Group (PSSAG), has completed the supply of rice seeds and fertilizer to 4 500 farmers spread across three townships in time for the imminent monsoon planting season.

Amid COVID-19

To meet new requirements emerging from the effects of COVID-19, FAO has reorganized its programming under to ensure continued delivery of assistance where there are already high levels of need. 

With support from the European Union, FAO has integrated and completed a number of awareness-raising activities dedicated to COVID-19. FAO and its partners have provided face masks, soap, or alcohol-based sanitizers to farmers at the beginning of all field activities. Handwashing demonstrations have been conducted to help people understand the benefits of handwashing through practical exercises. 

All project activities integrate critical public health information about the importance of physical distancing and individual actions to protect oneself and others from getting sick. 

Improving Food and Nutrition Security project

The project Improving Food and Nutrition Security aims at restoring and protecting the agricultural livelihoods of vulnerable communities in Buthidaung, Kyauktaw, Maungdaw, and Rathedaung Townships in Rakhine State. 

The project is one of 10 pro-resilience projects in countries with food crisis contexts being implemented within the broader framework of the partnership programme supporting the Global Network against Food Crises

The partnership programme’s goal is to enhance the resilience of populations in food-crisis contexts by strengthening the quality and frequency of food security and resilience analysis; building a body of evidence on effective options and interventions to enhance livelihoods and resilience at the country level; and bolstering stronger alliances at all levels to collectively address food crises through sustainable solutions along the humanitarian–development peace nexus.

 

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