SAPA Project – Short documentary

SAPA Project  – Short Preview

The SAPA (Sustainable and Affordable Poultry for All) project which is being implemented in Myanmar runs from 2015-2020. The fourth project year has just been finished and we made a short preview of the project. The final documentary will be ready at the end of the project, which will show all the received results. Curious to see what the SAPA project is about and what we have achieved so far?

Please watch here:

17 demoplots in the SAPA training area

17 demoplots in the SAPA training area

The Fresh Studio corn team spent from 1st June 2018 onwards for setting up 17 demonstration plots in the SAPA training areas in Southern Shan State and Kayah State for the 2018 corn growing season. It is one of the crucial parts of the implementation plan under result 4 (Establishment sustainably produced corn farming sourcing system) of SAPA for ensuring yield, plant performance and quality of corn to the farmers. The objectives of the demonstration plot are to show the plant performance, yield and the gross margin analysis of corn grown according to the SAPA standard and compare this to the normal standard (farmer method) and show the results to the farmers. Moreover, these demo plots also introduce the new SAPA fertilizer management system based on soil analysis to the small holder farmers to reduce their costs and make effective use of fertilizer.

Ko Thein Win and Ma Honey Oo (both agronomists) from Fresh Studio tried to select the suitable farmers together with the extension staff who really want to follow the SAPA guidelines and are very eager to improve themselves after finishing Module 1 (preparation and production) and Module 2 (harvest, post-harvest and record keeping) training. Each demonstration plot has a size of 0.3 acre to 0.6 acre and is located next or within a plot where corn is grown according to the farmer method. In this way both practices (SAPA and farmer) are being analysed and compared in terms of input and output data. Four types of seed varieties named NK621, NK 625, SA282 and CP 808 were used to analyse the yield and plant performance difference during the corn growing season. Soil analysis was done before the land preparation to calculate the right fertilizer requirement for N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, organic matter etc. to reach the target yield for all demo-plots. According to the guideline of the SAPA corn production protocol, four-time fertilizer applications: basal, 20 DAS (Days after Sowing), 40 DAS and 60 DAS, should be used. Fresh Studio team supervised on all four-time fertilizer application. And extension staff supports every week by checking through field observation and reports back to the agronomists from Fresh Studio.

In the beginning, the plant performance of the SAPA demo-plots are the same as the farmer practice and that’s why farmers had less interest in the SAPA demo-plots. Not only the SAPA demonstration plots but also the farmer corn fields faced sulphur and magnesium deficiencies in around 20 DAS because of heavy rain. After applying 20 DAS (Day After Sowing) fertilizer application in the SAPA demo plots, the plants showed very rapid growth rate and they started to look very healthy: no nutrient deficiency symptoms and free from pest and disease. And this changed the farmer vision who had less interest at the beginning.

Most of the corn fields are about 60 DAS right now in Southern Shan and Kayah State. Harvesting season will start in late September. Module 2 training (harvesting, post-harvesting, storage and pest & disease management during storage) will be given to the farmer on 1st September 2018 in order to provide the knowledge of harvesting in advance. Besides the training, subsequently farmer field days will be organised to show the comparison of the yield and profit margin of the SAPA demo-plots in contrary to the farmer method plots to the trainee farmers.

1000 corn farmers trained to be prepared for the upcoming corn season

1000 corn farmers trained to be prepared for the upcoming corn season

From the beginning of March until the end of April the Fresh Studio corn-team has been on the road in Southern Shan and Kayah state to train 1000 corn farmers. The team consisted out of Ko Thein Win and Ma Honey Oo, both agronomists. The SAPA (Sustainable and Affordable Poultry for All) corn trainings and planning are developed in such a way that it is in line with the corn growing season. The corn growing season is about to start, therefore the topics raised in the current training were: land preparation, sowing, weed control, fertilizer application, pest and disease management and soil sampling method.

The Fresh Studio team could not have done this on their own without the help of 22 extension staff (part of SAPA) who are responsible for the day to day communication with the farmers and are living in the respective areas. The townships that they are active in are: Taunggyi, Hopone, Lawksauk, Sesai, Loikaw and Pinlaung. One of the crucial benefits of working with local extension staff is that they are from the same ethnic (Paoh, Shan, Kayan, Danu); they know the farmer situation; they know the farmers personally and they speak the local language. Speaking the local language is crucial in order to train the farmers on the topics which are essential to improve the corn farming practices. Through transferring knowledge and skills in the local language the sustainability of the training is maintained as the farmers apply it on their land.

Although this training is officially called Module 1, the extension staff already conducted Module 2 at the end of 2017 which addressed harvesting and post-harvesting techniques and record keeping (as training topics are in line with the corn growing season). Training the farmers was for all extension staff something new and exciting and therefore the Fresh Studio team spend extra time on didactical and training skills, besides the technical knowhow. Comparing the performance of the extension staff in the first training with their performance in the second training one could see completely different persons. The extension staff were well prepared, more structured in their approach and showed more confidence in front of the group. And it was difficult to finish the training as they could not stop talking and sharing their knowledge with the corn farmers!

As mentioned in the introduction Module 1 is related to land preparation, sowing, weed control, fertilizer application, pest and disease management and soil sampling methods. The current practices of the corn farmers do not consist out of systematic sowing row and plant spacing practices. Furthermore, fertilizer application does not happen in a structured way, if it is even happening. In the SAPA areas the usage of fertilizer varies tremendously. In some villages hardly any fertilizer is being used as in some villages fertilizer is being overused. But even more importantly, doing a soil analysis to calculate properly the effective usage of fertilizer and what type of fertilizer should be chosen is new to the SAPA corn farmers. With a right, systematic way of fertilizer application the corn yield can increase more than 100%!

The corn growing season in Southern Shan and Kayah state starts from late May and the corn is ready to harvest at the beginning of October but the actual harvesting usually starts around December to January. Farmers start preparing their land right now and therefore it is crucial that the training took place in the last couple of months. Another important aspect of the learning and actual application of the training are of course the farmers themselves! Therefore the extension staff selected young farmers who are active, eager to learn and ready to make a change! With all the needed ingredients in this last corn training (essential topics, motivated extension staff and eager farmers) the farmers are better prepared for the upcoming corn growing season and the plant performance at the end of the growing season can only improve!

SAPA broiler trainers are ready for action

SAPA broiler trainers are ready for action

The last module, Module (3) TOT (Training of Trainers) was conducted both theoretically and practically in Myaungdakar Industrial Zone at De Heus Myanmar Feed Mill and Shwe Myayar, SAPA Demonstration Farm on a commercial farm..

The training on the topics of Nutrition and Entrepreneurship, was held from 19.03.2018 to 29.03.2018, for (10) days. This training was facilitated by poultry specialists, Ernst Beitler (Aeres University) and Jan Cortenbach (De Heus Animal Nutrition) from the Netherlands. The main focus was on nutritional value and production calculation costs related to poultry raw food materials in theoretical and practical manner. As part of the topic on entrepreneurship, a keynote speaker of Yoma bank was invited, Ko Nanda Tin. Yoma Bank currently gives out loans within the agribusiness sector in Myanmar. He explained how to contact the bank to get loans which are necessary for starting up a business in animal husbandry and what kind of facts and necessary documents the farmers need to prepare for receiving a loan.

During the 10-day-training, topics such as having the habit of making a cost calculation and daily technical record are very important for farmers to make them more aware on how they manage their farms and make them eventually more efficient and effective. The practice of keeping records really need to be improved since it is still weak among farmers in Myanmar (not only in livestock). The analysis and selection of quality raw materials is essential and it is very important to have high-quality and nutritional well-balanced food given to the broilers.

As this was the last module of the SAPA broiler training for vets, all the vets can officially and proudly call themselves SAPA-trainers. They finished three modules which touched upon farm management and bio-security, health and housing and nutrition and entrepreneurship. Besides content specific training, they were trained to become a trainer. Now they are ready to train 250 broiler farmers and 500 workers in NPT, Mandalay and Yangon! And that was reason enough for a celebration!


Bel Ga will raise DOC standards in Myanmar

Bel Ga will raise DOC standards in Myanmar

After months of construction, Bel Ga Myanmar has recently started operations in the most modern hatchery of South East Asia. This is a big milestone for Bel Ga Myanmar and its subsidairy project ‘Sustainable and Affordable Poultry for All (SAPA)’, which is partly funded by the Bel Ga Myanmar’s hatchery.

With this new step in the SAPA project, project partners The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Myanmar Livestock Federation, Yezin University, De Heus Animal Nutrition, Fresh Studio, AERES and Bel Ga Myanmar can contribute to affordable and sustainable Broiler meat production in Myanmar.

To ensure contribution of this local meat production, Bel Ga Myanmar will deliver a very high quality Day Old Chicken commodity first and then invest in technical support (Western derived knowledge) of the local broiler farmers in Myanmar to make sure that both genotype and fenotype give maximum results.
“SAPA” and thus Bel Ga Myanmar stands for improving farm management and technical results of local broiler farmers which will increase rural incomes.

“The newest incubators” of Petersime Belgium – which is not only a world market leader in Incubators but is amongst the best Broiler Genetics of Aviagen – also has, last but not least, 80 years of hatchery experience of its mother company Belgabroed, will make sure it raises the best Day Old Chickens in Myanmar under the guidance of Operational Manager Ben Cliteur.

With this milestone Bel Ga Myanmar makes the first step in repeating its achieved success of sister company Bel Ga Vietnam, which is currently producing 1.7 million Day Old Chickens under the highest standards of GLOBAL G.A.P., the world wide standard for good agricultural practices. Besides supplying Day Old Chickens to both local and neigherbouring country Cambodia, Bel Ga Vietnam achieved coorporation with broiler farmers De Heus Vietnam and slaughterhouse UNITEC which resulted in exporting broiler meat to one of the strictest exporting countries, Japan.

The aim is to counteract competitors which deliver the “Breed and Feed model”, in which independent farmers are forced to use Day Old Chickens and feed off the same company.
We believe in the core businesses of every company, to whom we will supply High Quality Day Old Chickens. This will guarantee better results in the rural incomes of our local independent Myanmar farmers.

Setter room Bel Ga Myanmar

Setting first HE’s

The First National Poultry Dialogue in Myanmar by SAPA Project

The First National Poultry Dialogue in Myanmar by SAPA Project

The 1st national poultry dialogue of SAPA project has been organized on 2nd December 2017. Aimed to bring all stakeholders in the broiler sector to strengthen the quality and sustainability of the Myanmar broiler sector.

National Poultry Dialogue is mainly focus on the improvement of production, (2) the sustainability of broiler meat market, and (3) for policy recommendation for the development of Myanmar broiler sector.

It is organized by the Myanmar Livestock Federation (MLF) as the local consortium partner of SAPA. Different organizations from both public and private sector are participated including MLF, Myanmar Broiler Association, Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, University of Veterinary Science together with the companies from the private sector such as De Heus, JAPFA, Fresh Studio. Moreover, livestock feed dealers and farmers’ representatives are attended.

Dr. Mya Han, the president of the MLF, addressed the important of SAPA project for the development of poultry sector in Myanmar as a kind of PPP program. Dr. Kyaw Htin, the vice president of the MLF, mainly focused on the three main areas mentioned above. Ms. Esther Wintraecken, the Country Manager of Fresh Studio introduced the SAPA project and Dr. May Zin Myo from De Heus Myamar explained the SAPA standards set for Myanmar broiler sector.

The second part of NPD emphasized on the round table discussion on the (1) production; (2) marketing and (3) policy recommendation. According to the discussion results, the availability of DOCs, credit problems, important of biosecurity, illegal imports of chilled chicken meat, from China and Thailand put pressure on the domestic poultry production and supply chain. Research and Development on poultry sector, effect of FDI participated on the poultry production sector, and land use policy related issues are challenging for this specific sector.

SAPA corn production manual for the extension staff

SAPA corn production manual for the extension staff

The SAPA corn production manual training for the extension staff (Training of Trainers) was successfully finished on 15-17th September 2017 at the Yadanar Aung Ban Hotel in Aung Ban (Shan State). 

It was a three day training program for 24 extension staff who were proposed by 12 corn traders from Taungyi, Yauksauk, Hopone, Pinlaung and Loikaw joined this training. The SAPA corn production manual consists out of three modules which include topics as corn history, land preparation, sowing, fertilizer application, irrigation, pest and disease management, harvesting, post-harvesting and record keeping. Fresh Studio provided this manual and related training in corporation with Yezin Agriculture University.

One part of the training was also a field trip to the SAPA corn trial plot where 5 corn varieties were tested on different guidelines (farmer practice, GAP standard, SAPA guideline) and the usage of fertilizer application. During this fieldtrip theory and practice were combined and resulted in a cheerful certificate ceremony. This extension staff training is not a means in itself; it is the start of an intensive training period of 2500 corn farmers in Southern Shan State where the objective is to improve the corn production in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.

On three days Training, Dr. Thanda Min (professor), Dr. Nyein Nyein Htwe (Associate professor) form Yezin Agriculture University and U Thein Win (agronomist) from Fresh Studio provided the three modules training to the 24 trainees. Moreover, Daw Thin Thin Lae (Division head officer of the plant protection department of Shan State) trained “the pest and disease management” topic for the corn plant.

Each module took one day which include not only theoretical and practical but also panel discussion and field visit to the SAPA corn trial plot. U Zaw Win Htun (District head officer from Taungyi DOA), Dr. Thanda Min (Professor from Yezin Agriculture University), Daw Khaing Khain Oo (Research officer from Taungyi research and development department), U Soe Win (Aung Ban research farm), U Nay Zaw Hlaing (Corn Expert) joined the panel discussion session shared their knowledge regarding with sustainable agriculture, pest and disease problem to the trainees. On 17th September, after three days training for SAPA corn production manual all 24 trainees received their certificates.

Vet training 2 focuses on health and housing

Vet training 2 focuses on health and housing

A  second Training of Trainers (TOT) for the SAPA project  was executed at the SAPA Poultry training center at Naypyidaw, Myanmar.

Poultry health, including Post Mortem check on broilers was one of the topics of the 2 weeks training. In addition to many useful theoretical and practical knowledge provided by poultry specialists Ernst Beitler Aeres University and Jan Cortenbach De Heus Animal Nutrition, The Netherlands, field trips and practical classes on the subjects of housing and climate control were also included in the 2 weeks practical oriented training for SAPA trainers.

Cooperation between the SAPA project and University of Veterinary Science (UVS), Prof. Dr. Ye Htut Aung was well received by the trainees. Prof. Dr. Ye Htut Aung discussed the most emerging poultry diseases in Myanmar, proper medication and vaccinations in broiler production. The training was organized with a useful mix of theory and practical experiences. In this SAPA training also attention was given to training skills and didactics led by Jolanda Stolk, from Aeres, The Netherlands. The technical knowledge and training skills will support SAPA trainers and advisors in their work as a consultant in the field. The question “what are the challenges poultry farmers are facing” was often discussed during the 2 weeks training. And answers on this valid and relevant question were mostly related to disappointing business and financial results and poultry health problems. On 14 September 2017, after 2 weeks training, on poultry Health, Housing and equipment for broilers and training skills all 14 participants received their certificate.

Effective corn workshops organised in Aungban, Shan State

Effective corn workshops organised in Aungban, Shan State

On Wednesday 5th July 2017, a large corn workshop was organised by the SAPA project at Hotel SS, Aung Ban.

The main objective of this workshop was to find 10 corn traders who are interested to lift the corn quality of Southern Shan State by not only focusing on connecting to the market and demand side, but also seeing possibilities to improve the production process. This is one of the many steps that SAPA has to take to develop a sustainably produced corn farming sourcing system. In total over hundred people attended the workshop, representing different working fields such as government, private companies, individual corn traders, NGOs and other individuals who are somehow active in the corn sector.

The workshop was embedded in presentations of government officials (U Thet Lwin Oo, Deputy Director General Department of Agriculture Research Yezin; Dr. Aung Moe Myo Tint DD DAR; Daw Thet Thet Aye, Township head Officer) and corn expert Dr. Nyein Nyein Htwe from Yezin Agriculture University to give the attendees an overview of firstly the government agricultural policy and in particular the corn sector. Furthermore, the attendees were given an overview of the corn production in surrounding countries in comparison with the corn production in Myanmar. The main conclusion of this presentation was that Myanmar corn is not bad at all, but Myanmar can do much better, through most likely minimal efforts.

The second part was mainly focusing on the need for traders in the SAPA project who are willing to walk that extra mile and can see the bigger picture of corn in Myanmar and not only in Southern Shan State. Their role will be to provide extension staff who are willing to take training provided by SAPA on how to improve current production practices. Thereafter they have to train farmers to actually apply the learned improvement.

Only 10 traders were needed, but 16 corn traders from Aungban, Taunggyi, Pindaya, Loikaw and Yauksauk regions were interested and keen to participate. In total they work with more than 40,000 farmers who own more than 100,000 acres corn field.

In the meantime, a smaller workshop was organised with the 16 interested corn traders to provide more details on the SAPA project and to start selecting 25 extension staff. And again, this was a very positive, interactive meeting in which all traders were very active and asked a lot of questions to understand the SAPA approach and also their role and benefits in this project. This workshop resulted in a first list of 25 extension staff. Next step is to start organizing the actual workshops on corn, among others: corn morphology, type of corn, soil preparation, irrigation technology, fertilizer application system, pest and disease management and harvesting and post harvesting technology.

Successful opening of the 2nd Poultry Training Centre at Nay Pyi Taw

Successful opening of the 2nd Poultry Training Centre at Nay Pyi Taw

On the 16th of May, the 2nd Poultry Training Centre (PTC) of the SAPA (Sustainable and Affordable Poultry for All) project was officially opened by the pro-rector of the University of Veterinary Science Dr Ye Htut Aung, the Chairman of the Nay Pyi Taw branch of the Myanmar Livestock Federation and the Agricultural Councilor of the Netherlands Embassy in Myanmar.

Before the official opening, the brand-new meeting room was used for a workshop with local broiler farmers, where the director of De Heus Myanmar, Mr Johan van de Ban, together with the De Heus farmer extension program manager Ms May Zin Myo (Jemi), introduced the SAPA project and the broiler farmer training program.

Dr Ernst Beitler from the AERES University of Applied Sciences from the Netherlands, a hands-on experienced broiler production specialist, explained to the workshop participants that within the SAPA project a choice was made to develop the Poultry Training Centres on carefully selected existing broiler farms. Based on a design of Dr Beitler, these farms were upgraded to be compliant with the minimum required level on biosecurity and hygiene, and being equipped with the required facilities to train the broiler farmers. The reason that the SAPA project has chosen for this model, is that the to be trained broiler farmers will learn in a real commercial farm setting. This is different from the usual model, where farmers are being trained in a demonstration farm, but which is not being managed as a commercial farm. As Mr Beitler mentioned: “Farmers are much more likely to adopt best practices and innovations which they see in a real commercial broiler farm, explained by a real broiler farmer, then from a farm which is only used for demonstration purposes”.

The most important criteria which were used in selecting an existing broiler farm for the upgrading to a PTC, was the motivation of the farm owner to receive other farmers, share information and understand the power of learning from each other. The selected broiler farmer for the 2nd PTC is Dr Ko Ko Naing. Dr Ko Ko Naing already has a lifetime of experience with poultry farming. His father was a layer farmer in the Irrawaddy Delta. Already from a young age Dr Ko Ko Naing was helping his father on the farm. With this background, it was a logical choice for him to study at the University of Veterinary Science in Yezin. After his graduation in 2001, he first worked five years for a feed company, which was also active as broiler integrator. This work experience gave him the confidence to start his own broiler farm from scratch. Together with his wife they successfully developed their farming business step by step, to the current production capacity of 150,000 broilers per cycle. With the money which they earned from the broiler farming, they invested in a small and basic broiler semi processing facility to supply the Nay Pyi Taw market.

Dr Ko Ko Naing passionately stated: “I joined the SAPA project and made one of my farms available to become a PTC, because I want to help the broiler farmers in this area. I also see this as a great opportunity to get my own staff well trained. I really want that the 300 broiler farmers in this area get the knowledge to build a good business”.

At the day of the opening most broiler farmers told that at this moment the broiler prices were relatively good, about 3,300 Kyatt/Viss, which is about 600 Kyatt/Viss above their cost price. Their biggest issue with which they have to deal with in this period is the heat stress of the broilers.

Dr Beitler responded to the heat stress issue mentioned by the broiler farmers: “This is why it is crucial for the future of the broiler sector in Myanmar that closed broiler housing systems will be developed, which will allow much better temperature control with special, but relatively simple, ventilation systems. Another big advantage of a closed housing system, is the much better biosecurity control”.

Dr Ko Ko Naing is indeed planning to invest in the first pilot closed housing system in the area to get experience with this. This will also be a very interesting pilot for the broiler farmers who are joining the training program. A lot of them have heard about closed housing systems, but have never been able to see one.

To develop closed housing systems will require access to finance, as most broiler farmers will not have enough capital at this moment to make such an investment. Although closed housing systems and access to finance is not in the scope of the SAPA project at this moment, the project partners will explore possibilities in the future to link existing and ongoing programs in Myanmar regarding credit for small holders to the SAPA project trained broiler farmers.

The opening event was ended with an announcement of Mr Johan van de Ban, that De Heus will develop a scholarship program for talented students to study at the University of Veterinary Science. In addition, the SAPA project and the University agreed to cooperate to develop an internship program which allows students to gain hands on practical experience. The pro-rector, Mr Ye Htut Aung, explained: “It will be a great opportunity for our students to get a chance to apply what they have learned in the university during an internship period.”

Immediately after the opening event, no time was wasted, as this was the starting point to train 250 farmers on the issues of farm management and bio-security. Crucial aspects in the breeding of a healthy chicken as stressed earlier. The training of the 250 farmers is not only taking place in NPT, but also in Mandalay, at the first PTC of the SAPA project, and in Yangon. Depending on the location of the farmer, he/she will be trained at the nearest location. The 250 farmers will be trained by fifteen veterinaries of the De Heus broiler farmer extension team, who are trained and supported extensively by Dr Beitler in broiler farming production practices. This training is one out of three training courses to be conducted to the 250 farmers, where after 500 farmers are being trained on similar topics.