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In 2000, Metta Development Foundation, through its agricultural advisor Humayun Kabir, conducted its first experiments with SRI in Kachin State. After a disappointing first year (yields of 1.97-2.73 t/ha - apparently due to late planting) the 2001 average was 5.5 t/ha compared with the typical yield of 2.5 t/ha. In the next two years, the average remained over 5 t/ha, with a few yields reaching into the 10+ t/ha range.

Between 2001 and 2005, Metta has conducted more than 600 Farmer Field Schools (FSS) where SRI has been taught as the major strategy for rice cultivation. Kabir estimated that as many as 50,000 farmers in Kachin and Shan States who participated in the Metta-sponsored FFS training or learned the methods from participants are using SRI in various degrees; at least 15% of these, or 7,500 farmers, were believed to be using all the main practices of SRI by 2006. In 2006, Kabir completed a PhD dissertation on Adaptation and adoption of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Myanmar using the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach.

During the 2007 wet season, full-scale SRI (at least 5 to 6 of the practices) was in use on around 10,000 acres in Metta program areas. (Kabir estimated that approximately 150,000 acres are cultivated using some of the SRI practices.) Rice yields, which vary significantly with the practices used, are reported from 4 tons per hectare to 10 tons/ha, with most of the averages from 5 to 6 tons/ha (an increase of 100 to 300% over baseline yields of 2 to 3 tons/ha) (see report).

During 2008, SRI methods were introduced by Metta Foundation in lowland Ayerawadi division, which is in the ‘rice bowl’ of Myanmar. The good success there is due to good water control and farmers' desire to lower their agrochemical-related production costs. Among other NGOs working with SRI as of 2008 were: GRET in Rakhine State, GAA (German Agro-Action) in Wa region and Ayerawadi division, and World Concern in Kachin, Shan and Chin states. A consortium of 20 primarily local NGOs, known as the Food Security Working Group (FSWG) is also supporting SRI trials.

In 2009-2010, the Metta Development Foundation expanded SRI promotion with CARITAS-Swiss funding to help cyclone-affected communities in the Delta region to recover from the extensive damage caused by Cyclone Nargis. Trained in Farmer Field Schools, 633 farmers cultivated 679 acres of rice, harvesting a total of 808 metric tons of rice in three townships of the Ayerawadi division. SRI modifications included experiments with direct seeding using labor-saving drum seeders (see report). During 2013, SRI began operating through the a Farmer Field School set up in Loi Law in Kachin state by Swiss Aid and local organization Aung Sett Kyar, with funding from the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT). During 2017, SRI is being introduced in Shwebo District, Sagaing, to grow Shwebo Pawsan premium rice varieties by United Nilar Agribusiness Co. Ltd. and the Sagaing Region Agricultural Department. It is hoped that SRI methods will raise yields and reduce pesticide use. As of 2015, Kin Maung Latt from Metta Development Foundation listed 10 NGOs, churches and other agencies that were involved with SRI in Myanmar.

An international SRI delegation traveled to Myanmar April 23-25, 2018, and participated in a SRI workshop sponsored by Myanmar's Department of Agriculture Research, a meeting with stakeholders from development groups and the private sector hosted by the Myanmar Rice Federation, and field visits to farms and rice mills. An SRI manual was produced by Thein Su, who also represented Myanmar at the Workshop to Enhance Cooperation and Sharing among SRI National Networks in Asia, held October 18-19, 2018, in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Thein Su's presentation at the event gives an overview of SRI in Myanmar, including which NGOs and government agencies are active in investigating or extending SRI. Farmer Field Schools are popular in Myanmar for extending SRI and has shown good results. (See below items from 2018 and 2020.) Additional SRI outreach efforts in 2020 by Thein Su include training materials, field days, and presentations. (Thein Su has been providing SRI outreach to the NGO community for a number of years.) According to a LWF article and excellent accompanying video, LWF has trained over 50 farming families in Myanmar in SRI methods since 2019.

Progress and Activities

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Photo Collection

The SRI-Rice Myanmar Photo Collection contains pictures obtained from Humayun Kabir and Norman Uphoff. (Click on the photo showing to enlarge it). If you do not have Flash installed, click here to see individual photos which are made available on Picasaweb.

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