Last week Agriterra conducted its first pilot training in Myanmar. After starting Agriterra’s operations in Myanmar in March 2017, considerable progress has been made.
Agriterra Myanmar has selected two target regions: Shan State and the Central Dry Zone. Shan State comprises 25% of Myanmar’s total land mass and has rich fertile agricultural land. The state has been affected by internal conflict until 2011, affecting inter-ethnic trust and organised farming is a novelty. Unlike Shan State, the Central Dry Zone has been stable over the years but nevertheless is one of the poorest regions of Myanmar and farmers operate fragmented. Although Myanmar has a cooperative history, cooperatives used to be top-down controlled and were of limited value to its members. In recent years, a gradual transformation took place, driven by the cooperative department and Myanmar’s apex organisation Central Cooperative Society. Nowadays the incentive for farmers to become a cooperative member is to have access to finance. Nevertheless, their collective entrepreneurship and commitment to join forces to strengthen their position in the value chain is limited. Based on thorough scoping and cooperative assessments, a total of four initial clients have been selected by Agriterra Myanmar. Given the current state of the cooperative sector, the fundament of supporting agricultural cooperatives in Myanmar is to create awareness of the benefits of cooperation and to support the most entrepreneurial farmers who have a willingness to cooperate, to take their pioneering cooperative enterprise steps in Myanmar. The Ministry of Agriculture (MoALI) has requested Agriterra to facilitate in the acceleration of cooperative enterprises. As a first step, Agriterra has organised a pilot training in MyCoop. MyCoop is a training tool that creates insights in cooperative principles, governance, member commitment, cooperative service provision, value creation and marketing.
Motivated participants collaborate during the My.coop training, which is important to share knowledgde and experience.
For this awareness raising training, representatives of two potato clients, the regional farmer organisation, the cooperative department, potential trainers and Agriterra partners like the ILO participate. The training is given by Agriterra’s senior trainers Dik van de Koolwijk from the Netherlands and Jun Virola from the Philippines, was opened by the Shan State Minister of Agriculture and received media coverage.
My.Coop training participants line up according to years of work on cooperatives.
The leaders of the potato cooperatives welcome the fresh perspective, participatory training methodology and have a lot of inspiration to strengthen their internal organisation and to win in the market to deliver value to their members. After action planning by the clients, the regional farmer organisation and the cooperative department, the Agriterra Myanmar business advisors will support in the implementation trajectory in the coming months.
Media coverage of MyCoop pilot training in Myanmar. Bob Jan tells viewers about Agriterra's cooperation with Myanmar government, our focus on farmer organizations and agri coops, and our unique approach in delivering services to our clients.