Farm systems analysis (FSA) conducted to identify economic activities to be supported

The Mekong Economics, a research and consulting company contracted by the Project started the conduct of Farm Systems Analysis on May 11, 2015 in selected villages of Hlaing-bwe. The results of the FSA will be the basis for selecting the most appropriate crops that will be supported by the Project. Demonstration farms will be set-up in partnership with savings groups and individual members to test the productivity and the profitability of the crops. The crops considered to profitable and will contribute to the increase in income of farmers will be promoted.

20150512_080028The Mekong Economics team preparing to go to the villages

Among the main objectives of the study is to determine the pattern of production in the area by identifying the main agricultural crops that have the potential for commercial production, and integrating this production with livestock and off-farm livelihood activities. This will include describing the variety of production technologies currently used for the main agricultural and livestock activities¬¬––including an analysis of the quality of inputs, the level of mechanization, and farming practices––for each population segment, the level of mechanization and other inputs that contributes to the intensification of production.

Another objective is to identify feasible opportunities to upgrade or intensify production, whether by using improved inputs that are currently available, increasing mechanization, or adopting new farming practices (e.g., improved techniques, multi-cropping, sloping agriculture, reducing costs, etc.) for each population segment.

Finally, to calculate the opportunity costs of upgrading or intensifying production, taking into account the availability of labor (family and hired), deployment of resources (capital and land), and risks involved for each population segment, including financial risks and impact on food security.

IMG_2290A focus group discussion in one of the villages facilitated by Mekong Economics

The Mekong Economics team is headed by Tom Brookes and four agricultural specialists namely Daw Naw Bway Pale Paw, U San Thein, U Ye Htut and U Kyi Lin. The team is supported by Saw Hein Htet Win (PF Consultant for Enterprise Development) and technical staff from the CDA, U Khin Maung Myint (Consultant on Agriculture) and Daw Van Leng Kai (Consultant for Enterprise Development).

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Project M&E installation on-going

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Veronica Vergani, Prof. Davide Castellani, Prof. Laura Vigano’ and Giampaolo Bonomi from the University of Bergamo, Italy

A team of experts from the Finance and Development Group (FinDev) of the University of Bergamo in Italy arrived last May 9, 2015 to set-up the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system of the Project. The team is composed of Senior Consultant Laura Vigano’(Full Professor of Banking); Junior Consultant Davide Castellani (Adjunct Professor of Banking); Assistant Staff Veronica Vergani (Research Fellow); and Giampaolo Bonomi, Research Volunteer. The team is supported by Myo Myo Htun, PF Consultant on Cooperatives Development.

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Prof. Davide Castellani explaining during the training for  baseline data survey team.

The first mission of the team is to set up the baseline data of the Project. The activities consists of developing the survey tool for generating the baseline data and the tool for regular monitoring.

The succeeding missions of the team is  focused on ensuring that the regular monitoring is being conducted and the analysis of data generated. At the end of the Project, the team will also conduct the impact study to look at the results attained and its impact to the people directly and indirectly participating in the Project.

Savings group formation: April updates

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Two teams from the CDA started the formation of savings group a week before the Thingyan festival. Using the Rapid Savings Mobilization Technique (RSMT), the teams formed 16 savings groups with a total members of 135 individuals from the villages of Daing Pya, Daing Pya Kone, Chan Tar, Ywar Kaing Kaung, Win Sein, Phyar Ngoke To and Kyun Pyar. It is expected that by the end of May, all the 35 villages will be covered and savings groups formed in each of the villages.

The CDA team is headed by Dr. Than Naing, Program Manager and U Thant Zaw Aye, Local Project Supervisor; with Team 1 composed of U Kaung Phyae Taw and Daw Nan Win Win Su, and Team 2 is composed of U Saw Kyaw Shwe and Ko Myo Min Htwe.