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news | July 21, 2017 | Myanmar | Development

Improving nutrition in rural Myanmar

Farmer Khine Win stands in front of her greenhouse in Mrauk-U Township @ACTED Myanmar 2017

ACTED is currently implementing a project, funded by the Embassy of France to Myanmar, in support of food security and nutrition in Rakhine State. This project will benefit to 238 vulnerable families in eight rural villages who have been affected by conflict and natural disasters. Focusing on off-season crop cultivation, it promotes year-round access to healthy food, such as nutrient-rich okra, yard long bean and cucumbers, in addition to improving water sources in eight villages in Mrauk-U and Kyauktaw Townships.

Training local farmers to ensure long term crops

In each village, ACTED trains two especially successful local farmers to share knowledge with their neighbours. These farmers are willing to construct demonstration plots of new types of agriculture to implement, such as greenhouses or elevated plant beds known as table gardening. The communities choose the type of agriculture based on the needs of the community and their contexts. In Zin Gala Kone village, for example, the community chose to implement table gardens due to their proximity to a local river that often overflows in the rainy season.

In Pi Pin Kone village, by contrast, the community chose to construct greenhouses to support the growth of certain crops out of their usual season. As the key farmer for his village, U Bo Min Yaung trains beneficiary farmers on best farming practices, ranging from natural pesticides to weed management to vegetable cultivation and nutrition. Bo Min Yaung’s greenhouse, like those of other key farmers, is used as a hands-on teaching site for other beneficiary farmers: it is here that the Pi Pin Kone beneficiaries learned to construct their greenhouses, and where they will learn firsthand the best ways to plant nutrient-rich okra, yard long bean, cucumber, and turmeric.

Each village has completed construction on its greenhouse or table garden and, in the next few weeks, will begin planting seeds to cultivate during the upcoming low season. Since ACTED has implemented training in U Bo Min Yaung’s community, residents are able to grow more kinds of vegetables and have better nutrition.