Guest blogger Lauren Leatherby is a first-year Master in Public Policy student at the Harvard Kennedy School who spent Winter Break…
Farm Advisory Services
Smarter farming for life
Getting the right kind of farming knowledge can be difficult in remote areas. Information travels slowly, and outdated techniques are keeping Myanmar rice yields some of the lowest in Asia.
To combat this, Proximity promotes a series of simple and affordable crop management techniques that protect fields from pests and disease, and can increase yields by 10-15%.
Farm Advisory Services
Pest free fields, cash full coffers
Number of farmers trained in techniques: 35,728
A few months after Cyclone Nargis hit, in May 2008, affected farmers in the Delta region of Myanmar began planting another season of rice, in the hope that they would be able to regain some of their income for the year. Unfortunately, this new crop was destroyed by a pest infestation that not one of the thousands of farmers hit, knew how to stop. Proximity’s Farm Advisory Services were born in response to this incident.
We train and organize teams of skilled agronomists to be on call throughout the Ayeyarwady delta region. We call them our S.W.A.T teams, and they can deploy to a farm and begin assessment within hours of being notified. Once there, they help farmers come up with the perfect, affordable solution to their problem. For many farmers, this service has prevented catastrophic crop loss which would have driven them into extreme debt.
In addition, we have trained over 35,000 farmers in one of a bundle of techniques that increase yields and improve crop health. The most popular of these is Salt-Water Seed Selection. It’s a simple method of soaking rice seeds in a salt-water mixture and only planting the seeds that sink to the bottom. It costs the farmer nothing, but results in improved crop quality and an average yield increase of 10-15%, in turn boosting incomes.
We currently offer these services to rice farmers in the Delta, and we're researching opportunities for expansion up into the Dry Zone. Eventually, we plan to make this service available to all kinds of farmers, nationwide. If you are interested in helping us achieve this, please consider donating to Proximity. Your contribution will help us to educate farmers in techniques that will help them, and their families, for generations to come.
"After using SWSS, paddy production in my fields has greatly improved. Even Myawaddy Television came to film my paddy fields and ask me for advice."
Phat Thar Village
"After using the technique, the quality of the grains is fuller and richer. They’re really beautiful now and they weigh more, so I get more money at the market."
Pay Chaung Gyi Village
"Before, I had many bad seeds, but after using SWSS, the rice is good quality. I’m making 20 more baskets of rice from each acre. That’s $300 more in a summer paddy season!"
"These are things we should all know, but we don't. I can't explain how beneficial this knowledge is to us farmers."
"I like that I’ve learnt something that I can pass down through the generations; something that will always work."
"His acres are the best in the village now. Everyone asks him for advice!"
Aye Ywar Village