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Capacity development instrumental in restoring agricultural production and livelihoods in Myanmar

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Myanmar's Department of Agriculture (DoA) recently conducted a series of training sessions to support the capacity development of farmers and technical experts. The training aimed to support and restore the agricultural production and livelihoods of communities affected by the heavy monsoon rains in southern Myanmar.

Training farmers

A total of 214 farmers from communities in Mon and Kayin States and Tanintharyi Region participated in face-to-face training sessions in the following topics.

Good Agricultural Practices: The topics covered in this session included farming practices such as vegetable production, soil fertility management and the proper use of fertilizers to help farmers improve their yields. Participating farmers gained knowledge on practices aimed towards enhancing the production of safe, high quality food, promoting environmentally friendly agricultural practices, and ensuring the welfare of farm workers.

Climate-Smart Agriculture: The training session was designed to help farmers understand how climate-induced shocks affect the agricultural sector and share climate-smart agricultural practices that enable families to improve production in a sustainable manner.

Nutrition: The session covered topics related to basic nutrition including a balanced diet, meal planning, food hygiene, and the special feeding needs of children, women and men.

Improving Knowledge: Post-Monsoon Forums

In relation to strengthening early warning early action systems, FAO and the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology organized virtual Post-Monsoon Forums in December 2020 for technical officers from relevant line ministries and agencies to share experiences, challenges and lessons learned during the 2020 southwest monsoon season. Some 200 technical officers participated in the discussions which aimed to review the southwest monsoon seasonal forecasts and seasonal climate and water level forecasts in Mon and Kayin States and Tanintharyi Region. Furthermore, the forums also aimed to solicit feedback from end users on the usability of the forecasts and recommendations to enhance the early warning system in order to respond to potential disasters through early action.

Participants raised recommendations, gaps and challenges such as the need for meteorological information technology training for DoA staff, dissemination of real-time meteorological information, capacity development on collection and storage of meteorological records, installation of weather sensors in townships (where there are no meteorological centers in the region) and strengthened coordination and sharing of meteorological information and forecast reports with the DoA.

Since March 2020, FAO, with the generous support of the** Government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland**, has been working with the DoA to support households affected by the heavy monsoon rains, strengthen early warning systems, and promote forecast-based early actions in preparation for future disasters.

In August 2020, FAO conducted a training for DoA technical staff on the use and maintenance of weather sensors to monitor forecasts. The participants also had the opportunity to review key aspects of data collection, weather data interpretation, and other relevant information that farmers can benefit from to improve their productivity. Additionally, FAO provided equipment to monitor weather patterns in Kayin and Mon States and Tanintharyi Region.

In October 2020, FAO provided vegetable, mung bean and rice seeds, as well as fertilizer to about 5 000 vulnerable farmers in the states of Kayin and Mon and the Tanintharyi Region to enable them to restart their agricultural production.