Key results realized under the Civic Engagement Alliance in Myanmar are:
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) group certificates granted by Department of Agriculture (DoA) in Min Bu and Magway Townships in Magway Region, and later for Khayan and Thonegwa Townships in Yangon Region. This is the first time a tangible award and proof is given to mung bean farmers (women and men) for producing quality. Thereby adding value to their crops and more opportunities to access markets.
Successful formation and capacity support for Regional Farmer Development Associations (RFDAs) in Magway and Yangon Regions to do collective marketing. In 2019, within a few months, 1.6 thousand metric tons of mung beans worth over EUR 1.2 million have been purchased from the Yangon RFDA by one buyer. This price has been substantially higher and more stable than the years before, and demonstrated to farmers the potential of working together. This is the result of a Public Private Partnership led by ICCO in lobbying and facilitating to the Officials from the Yangon Regional Department of Agriculture, Agri-business Companies and Regional Farmer Development Associations.
In total 70 groups were helped to develop lobby and advocacy action plans, through a series of training courses on the Lobby & Advocacy 10-Step Approach, which was translated into Burmese. Based on this, 38 action plans are being implemented by the supported CSOs and Community-Based Organizations. Key topics that these local groups are addressing are land use certificates, fertilizer controls, compensation for pesticide damage, access to quality seed, requests for soil testing and more cooperation of DoA in GAP inspection.
Evidence-based agricultural policy development and consultations were strengthened: ICCO sent findings and recommendations from mung bean value chain applied research to the Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery Affairs Parliamentary Committee on Negative Effects of Pesticides in 2018. As a result, ICCO and NAG were invited to personally testify to the committee in March 2019, helping to shape amendments to the Pesticide and Fertilizer laws.
KMSS successfully campaigned for a fair market price for paddy rice (many pulses farmers also grow rice). KMSS found that the paddy rice market in Myanmar is very unstable. By consulting farmers in Bago Region, KMSS was able to make 6 statements for recommendation towards the Myanmar government. One of the key recommendations was that the government should regulate the rice price and set measurement standards for rice crops for various moisture levels. This particular recommendation, which was also strongly pushed for by stakeholders such as the Myanmar Rice Federation, UMFCCI, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, was adopted two weeks later by State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who announced that a floor price for paddy rice has been set at 500,000 Myanmar Kyat per 100 baskets.
Promotion of the concept of multi-stakeholder collaboration on inclusive agricultural value chain development: the idea that through coordination and organization of value chain stakeholders for a common goal can lead to win-win situations. The companies that work in the pulses sector increasingly seek to work with the farmers associations to provide quality inputs and pre-financing opportunities.
Civic Engagement Alliance, in collaboration with AgriProfocus Myanmar, has twice organized an AgriFood Bootcamp on Youth Engagement in Agriculture (in 2018), and a Youth in Agribusiness Forum (2019). In 2019, more than 100 youth members from partner organizations, young researchers and young farmers (50/50 balance between male and female) attended the Forum. These youth voiced their ideas, challenges and perspectives to other key stakeholders within the agricultural sector.
RMO conducted child protection awareness raising sessions, lobbied and coordinated with community-based stakeholders (local villages authorities, schools, police, healthcare, local businesses) to recognise and remedy child labor at Shwe Kyin Township, Bago Region.
Based on the Civic Engagement Alliance research on child labor in agricultural value chains, in collaboration with the International Labor Organisation, RMO was able to involve in public awareness raising and policy briefs to alert decision-makers and business owners of the seriousness of the issue.