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.

Kick-off broiler training and opening PTC in Mandalay

Kick-off broiler training and opening PTC in Mandalay

Monday 6th of February was a special day for the SAPA project. The first broiler training took place for 10 selected veterinarians. At the same time the first Poultry Training Center in Mandalay opened as part of the training. 

One of the main components of the SAPA Project is the capacity building of farmers, both broiler farmers as corn farmers. Last Monday 6th of February two milestones of the SAPA project took place: firstly, the kick-off of the first broiler training for 10 selected veterinarians in Mandalay and secondly, this training took place at the first Poultry Training Centre (PTC) of Myanmar.

The PTC is built on the farm of broiler farmer U Win Hlaing, who was selected and eager to participate in SAPA to upgrade his existing farm into a PTC. This PTC will be used throughout the whole SAPA project to train veterinarians, broiler farmers and workers until 2020 on various topics related to broiler farming. The reason why this PTC is so special is because this is the first training centre on a broiler farm, where trainees receive theory and are immediately able to observe, reflect and apply the acquired knowledge into practice. In the coming months two more PTCs are opened: in NPT and Yangon.

The first broiler farmer training is a 10 day training for 10 selected veterinarians, who have the responsibility to train 750 broiler farmers and workers throughout the whole of Myanmar. The topics of this first training were: farm management and bio-security. In the coming year two additional training modules take place so that at the end of the training courses the veterinarians are certified SAPA-trainers. The topics addressed are: health, nutrition, housing, entrepreneurship and the broiler production standard.

As the opening of the PTC and the kick-off of the first broiler training are a very important milestone in the SAPA project, a special opening ceremony was organised with members of the Mandalay Livestock Federation and the deputy general of the LBVD (Livestock, Breeding and Veterinary Department) and the director of De Heus Myanmar and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Selection of private broiler farms as practical ‘poultry’ training centres

Selection of private broiler farms as practical ‘poultry’ training centres

An important step towards training 750 farmers and workers. One important aspect of the SAPA project is to build the capacity of broiler farmers. The capacity lies both in upgrading knowledge and skills on for example farm management, nutrition, housing, bio-security and health. 

What is important within the SAPA-approach is that the training should be very practical and realistic according to the Myanmar context and applicable to any level of a farmer. Training modules are a combination of theory and practical orientation, observation and analysis on the farm. For the practical aspect three private broiler farms in respectively Yangon, NPT and Mandalay needed to be selected for upgrading towards practical poultry training centres.

Firstly, in these practical poultry training centres 10 veterinaries are trained on three modules: management and bio-security, housing and health, entrepreneurship and nutrition. Secondly, the 10 vets will train 250 farmers and 500 workers. And this will all happen until the end of 2020.

In 2016 (August and December), two visits took place in Myanmar from Dutch poultry experts. Their mission was to select three suitable farms (and therefore farmers) to be upgraded to a poultry training centre in the area of Yangon, NPT and Mandalay. Suitable refers to for example the following criteria: the farmer should be the owner, farm should have 5000 broilers or more, the farm should have an appropriate recording system, the location of the farm and the housing of the farm should be one step beyond the basic open house system. In the last mission of December, finally two farms were selected in Mandalay and NPT. Meaning, that the upgrading can start as soon as possible in 2017 and that the first training of the vets will take place in February 2017.

Broiler house

Inside a broiler house

Closed house with climate control