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A Year of Support Opens the Door to Success for U Myo Thu

Posted On: October 20, 2023
U Myo Thu standing in front of his trellised rows of yard long beans
U Myo Thu with his carefully trellised yard long bean plants.

MYANMAR – One year of training has opened the door to years of profitable vegetable production for farmer U Myo Thu, who participated in the Effective Agri Techniques for Vegetables project in Myanmar in 2022.

Using what he learned from East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation (EWS-KT) during the project, U Myo Thu has not only scaled up his production but is also doing his own action research, comparing mulched to unmulched crops and direct seed sowing to seedlings. 

“It’s truly very encouraging to see what 12 months of intensive Knowledge Transfer support can do,” said EWS-KT Director Stuart Morris after visiting U Myo Thu earlier this year. “Following U Myo Thu’s example, 30 to 40 other farmers in his village are now replicating improved practices.”

Learning by Doing

EWS-KT key farmers are provided with a year of hands-on guidance and coaching on vegetable production from our expert trainers. With the knowledge U Myo Thu gained as a key farmer, he is now growing four types of vegetables year-round on 2 acres of land, along with corn during the rainy season. He also continues to cultivate 6 acres of rice on a seasonal basis. 

U Myo Thu amid small plants in his field
U Myo Thu on his farm.

“I have learned many advanced techniques from EWS-KT that impact so much on my farm,” U Myo Thu said. “Now I know how to produce vegetables successfully, which creates regular extra income and provides daily nutrition for my family.”

As a key farmer, U Myo Thu also had an important role to play in his community. His demonstration plot showcasing improved agricultural techniques served as a training site for neighboring farmers. Up to 40 farmers attended regular training sessions at U Myo Thu’s farm, learning theoretical knowledge from our field staff and practical experience through our “learning by doing” approach. Many of these farmers are now using the same techniques on their own land.

Time for Harvest, and the Value of Market Connectivity

Growing vegetables is only one part of being a successful farmer. Selling your produce is the next step, and U Myo Thu has conquered that as well, with a vegetable collector coming to his farm to purchase his yard long beans, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn. 

At harvest time, U Myo Thu and his family—his wife and son, his parents, and his sister-in-law—pick the vegetables and transport them to their home. There, they immediately separate and bundle them by size and weight, according to the market requirements.

For okra and yard long beans, the collector comes the same day to purchase the vegetables and transport them to the village market, where they are sold to local consumers. For cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn, U Myo Thu sometimes stores the produce for a day or two, waiting for a better market price, before selling to the collector. No matter what, he knows he has a buyer for his produce when it is time to harvest his crops. 

One of U Myo Thu's family members helps the vegetable buyer to load the prepared yard long beans into his cart
One of U Myo Thu’s family members helps the vegetable buyer to load bags of yard long beans into his cart.

A Bright Horizon

With a steady stream of income from vegetable production, U Myo Thu has been looking toward the future. He continues to learn from his action research, and he has already recognized the benefits of using mulch, noting that weeds are a significant problem for him without it. 

His year of EWS-KT training has given him a strong foundation on which to build. As he considers expanding his vegetable production, he would like more training to increase his knowledge of pest and disease management. He is also interested in learning how to successfully grow melon, watermelon, and other crops to further diversify his farm.