Sustainable enterprises documented

 

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Benjamin Apra and Guilhelm Baschet in front of the Project office in Hpa-an, Kayin State

 

In support to microfinance and enterprise development, two French bikers – Benjamin Apra and Guilhelm Baschet – decided to visit 10 countries by bike and meet along the way people who have been touched by microfinance.  Dubbed Au Bout de Soie, the biking duo visited the Project areas in February 2017.  They met with some members of the cooperatives who have  borrowed and started  new enterprises.

The video-documentation of their engagement with the people in the villages are available in the internet through these  links:

https://vimeo.com/210152011

https://vimeo.com/210893365

Closing the Project, sustaining the initiative

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The picturesque Mount Zwegabin overshadowed the Thiri Hpa-an Hotel where the closing conference of the Project was held.  The magnificent view was a suitable backdrop for participants in their colorful longyis and traditional Kayin dresses as they strut around the grand ballroom of the hotel.

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Officers and staff of PPLL                                             Officers and staff of BYTM

For two days, February 27-28, more than a hundred entrepreneurs, government officials, members of cooperatives and NGO support groups gathered and   deliberated on SME development in the context of what the Project has achieved.  The theme of the conference revolved around improving agricultural production and rural enterprises to promote sustainable development for Kayin State.

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Conference speakers, from left to right: Dr. Tin Win Kyaw, Deputy DG U Thaing Naung, Director U Myo Aung, and Dr. Than Naing

Aside from the members of the Bawa Yay Thauk Myint Cooperative and the Pwint Pwint Lin Lin Cooperative, members of the Kayin State Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KSCCI) actively participated in the discussions. Top State officials also provided inputs, including Dr. Tin Win Kyaw (State Minister for Social Services) who gave the Keynote Speech representing Chief Minister Daw Nan Khin Htwe Myint; Daw San San Yi (Director for Planning and Finance) who delivered the economic situation of Kayin state; Daw Win Win Than (Asst. Director for Planning and Finance), U Tin San (Director for Consumer Affairs) as resource persons for future directions of SME development in Kayin State.

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Conference plenary session

The Department of Cooperatives (DOC) officials from Nay Pyi Taw who attended the conference were headed by DDG Thaung Naing and other officials including Director U Myo Aung and Deputy Director U Nyan Win Maung.  They were joined by cooperative officers from Kayin and neighboring Mon State and Bago Region. Representatives from the Central Cooperative Society (CCS) were also present.

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Panel discussion on enterprise finance

Cooperatives from neighboring Thailand were also invited, but were not able to come due to some immigration problems, but that did not snuff out the idea of strengthening partnerships between them and the two cooperatives.

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Small group

The main issues in the conference were the access to financing for member-entrepreneurs and the long-term sustainability of the two cooperatives. The efforts at making the cooperatives stronger are focused on the expansion of its members to cover not only the current project areas but the whole of Hlaing-bwe Township.

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Positive PlaNet and CDA Project team members and volunteers

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Grateful acknowledgments to the funding partners – European Union (EU), French Development Agency (AFD) and PepsiCo; to government partners – Department of Cooperatives and the Kayin State government; and to the people of Hlaing-bwe Township.

 

 

Community-based Trainors to improve agri-production and rural enterprises

 

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Saw Hein Htet Win, PP Technical Consultant on Enterprise Development facilitating during the TOT for community-based trainors

 

The technologies being employed at present are traditional, hence agricultural productivity in the rural areas are not maximized. This is one of the concerns being addressed by the Project. Aside from cooperative formation, the other half of the financial inclusion project is the enhancement of agricultural production and rural enterprises to contribute to the increase of income of people in the villages. The concept is for the cooperative to provide loans to economic activities that are profitable and can be done without subsidy from the government or development agencies.

Based on this premise, the project implemented activities to determine the enterprises that can be enhanced and financed by the cooperative. The first initiative was to do a farm systems analysis to look at current farm production activities. From the analysis, a list of agricultural commodities was made. Second, a value chain analysis was done to include current crops and livestock to determine the most profitable commodities. The third initiative was to set up demonstration farms for crops and livestock and models for non-agri enterprises.

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The savings groups in each village agreed on one commodity or enterprises that will be tested in their area. A total of 33 demonstration and modeling activities were implemented since the second half of 2015 up to the present. Demonstration farms were made for crops and livestock: mushroom, corn, beans, goat, poultry, native chicken and hogs.  Modeling of rural enterprises particularly garments retailing, concrete products, ricemill operation, rice trading, molasses trading, lumber retailing and grocery store were also done.

Despite the varied results of the modeling and demonstration farms, there are those who successfully showed how to make the commodities and the enterprises profitable.  These farmers and entrepreneurs were selected and invited to become community-based trainors. The trainors will provide training to other members of the cooperative who are interested in venturing into crops or enterprises they have demonstrated. The cooperative will require borrowers to undergo training with the community-based trainors who will be paid for the training services they provide.

The first batch of trainors completed a three-day training of trainors (TOT) conducted last October 26-28 at the Mibmyita Hotel in Hpa-an. The commodities covered included mushroom, chicken, beans, goat, hogs and corn; and an enterprise, concrete products.

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To equip the trainors and make them effective, topics discussed included concepts of adult education and use of appropriate tools and instruments in training. Participants were given time to prepare a basic training tool they presented during the last day of the training. Constructive critiquing from other participants provided guide on how to make their tool relevant and effective.

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It is envisioned that the community-based trainors will be the backbone in improving farm and rural enterprise technologies that will eventually contribute to the improved quality of products in the villages and ultimately increase income of the farmers and entrepreneurs. The training is also expected to lower the credit risk of the cooperative brought about by failure in production.

The knowledge and skills of the trainors will also be enhanced through exposures in other areas and formal training from extension schools.

Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) Conducted

 

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Mr. David Coombs discussing with PF and CDA staff during the conduct of ROM

 

The Project was selected as one of the EU-assisted projects to be covered by a results oriented monitoring (ROM) review mission.  The briefing document described it as,

“The ROM methodology is based on the logical framework and assesses project performance according to four of the five standard criteria of 1) Relevance, including intervention logic and quality of project design; 2) Efficiency of implementation to date; 3) Effectiveness to date; and 4) (Potential) sustainability.”

 

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Visit in one of the enterprise demonstration farms

 

Mr. David Coombs,  EU consultant and ROM specialist, conducted the evaluation on February 29-March 5, 2016. He met with the stakeholders particularly CDA, Kayin State Cooperative Office, Union of Cooperative Syndicates (UCS), Bawa Yae Thouk Myint Cooperative and leaders of selected savings groups.  He visited 4 villages and some demonstration farms and enterprises during the review mission.

 

Enhancing Enterprise Development Skills

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Participants preparing a production process flow

The Training of Trainers on Enterprise Development aimed at providing knowledge and skills to the staff of CDA was completed last January 27-29. The training was in support to the demonstration and modelling activities of enterprises and farm activities selected by the members of the savings groups.

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Modules of the Enterprise Development Training

 

After the completion of the demonstration activities, 10 enterprises/farm activities will be selected for documentation and loan product development for the Bawa Yae Thouk Myit Cooperative. The enterprise and commodity profiles that will be developed will be the basis of the cooperative in financing enterprises and farm activities.

As of the end of January, 15 enterprises and farm activities are undergoing demonstration, participated by 174 participants with a combined amount of support at 21.5 million kyats (US$ 16,796.).

Status of Enterprise and Farm Demonstration Activities

 1.Agricultural production
Village Crops/Livestock Number of participants Amount of support Date released
Daing Pya Mushroom production

8

1,500,000.Kyats

Oct 16
Pyar Ngoke To Poultry raising

12

2,000,000.Kyats

Oct 16
Auk Yae Pu Hog raising

9

2,000,000.Kyats

Oct 16
Shan Ywar Hog raising

20

1,000,000.Kyats

Nov 20
Kwat Myat Gyi Corn production

11

1,200,000.Kyats

Nov 20
Me Thein Goat raising

7

1,000,000.Kyats

Nov 25
Tar Baung Kone Beans

6

1,400,000.Kyats

Dec 18
Kwan Be Hog raising

20

1,500,000.Kyats

Dec 18
Naung Taing Goat Raising

8

1,500,000.Kyats

Jan 15
Total  

101

13,100,000.Kyats

 
2.Enterprise upgrading  
Village Enterprise Number of participants Amount of support  
A Htet Yae Pu Buy and sell (clothing and garments)

16

1,000,000.Kyats Oct 16
Chan Tar Concrete products

9

1,000,000.Kyats Oct 23
Win Sein Ricemill operation

10

2,000,000.Kyats Nov 20
Ywar Kaing Kaung Rice trading

11

1,500,000.Kyats Nov 25
Ka Di Kan Merchandise trading

14

1,500,000.Kyats Dec 18
Htar Thein Concrete products

13

1,400,000.Kyats Jan 15
Total  

73

8,400,000.Kyats  
Grand Total  

174

21,500,000.Kyats  

 

Developing models for sustainable rural enterprises

The Project released K7.5 million in support to five enterprises implemented as demonstration activities. Production of selected agricultural commodities and non-agricultural enterprises will be done in the Project area to check on the most profitable economic activities to be supported.

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Representatives of groups signing the agreement and receiving the funds and certificates of participation.

Demonstration activities will focus on those with substantial market demand and good price that will provide significant margin for farmers and entrepreneurs. The support from the Project will represent the amount that can be borrowed from the cooperative. From the different agricultural and non-agri demonstration activities, ten (10) most profitable and most relevant economic activities will be selected as models for the cooperative to prioritize in financing. Farmers and entrepreneurs can continue with the production of the commodity or the enterprise they are doing by accessing loans from the cooperative.

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The mushroom demonstration farm in Daing Pya village

Farmers or entrepreneurs who took part and are successful in the modeling of the economic activities will be trained to become local resource persons. They will be the trainors who will teach other people in the Project area interested in venturing into the commodity production or enterprise.

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Other economic activities: Ginger production and rubber processing

At present, demonstration farm for the production of mushroom, poultry and hogs were already established including enterprises such as garments trading and concrete products. Saw Hein Thet Win, NTC for Enterprise Development is supervising the studies on other commodities such as ginger, turmeric, sesame, peanuts and eggs. Consultations with other saving groups in the villages are continuously being done to identify other economic activities to be included in the modeling exercise.