IRRI’s MYRice project to improve farmers’ lives in Myanmar

Myanmar ricxePlanning the rice field in Myanmar. (Image source: Alex Berger/Flickr)International Rice Research Institute’s (IRRI) five-year research project in Myanmar is making a lasting impact on improving local rice farmers’ ability to adapt to agricultural challenges and respond to market opportunities

Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the MYRice project is working to transform the rice sector of lower Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady and Bago regions, which account for more than half of the total rice-harvested areas in the country.

The IRRI project has so far helped in increasing the productivity and income of small-holder farmers, as well as foster overall participation by all stakeholders in the region.

Commenting on the project, Dr Robert Edis, research program manager at ACIAR, stated, “IRRI’s collaborative approach in working with farmers and local researchers has improved the livelihood of the small farming families.”

The research project helped to grow farmers’ yield by 20 per cent, thus increasing their income by 30 per cent, while decreasing yield loss by an average of 15 per cent.

“As MYRice wraps up, it’s heartening to know that this project has helped to significantly increase productivity and yield for farmers. It has also built their knowledge base, which in turn is shaping the national agriculture policies for the benefit of farmers and Myanmar’s rice sector,” explained Dr Grant Singleton, principal scientist and MYRice project leader at IRRI.

More than 10,000 Myanmar farmers have been benifitted from the MYRice project in the country. Of this, 3,670 farmers were directly involved in field trials for suitable, climate-resilient varieties of rice and pulses and their management.

IRRI further added that women played a significant role in constituting the project. It has also enabled farmers, millers, traders and other stakeholders of the rice value chain to share experiences and exchange information on market opportunities.

During the final review meeting of the MYRice project which was held in Myanmar from 9-10 October 2017, Edis encouraged the officials to reflect on the legacy of the project for its continuous succession.

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