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Cross-Border Trade Facilitation In Twin-Border-Provinces Along EWEC
Implementating Guideline of Internal Control System (ICS) for Internal Inspector of Good Agriculture Practices Farmer Groups
Manual of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
National Consultation report on Enabling Regulatory Environment for Facilitating Cross-Border Trade Along the GMS East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC)
Trade and Investment Facilitation,
Capacity Development Training Program on Trade Promotion and International Agreements
Written by Mekong Institute
The training on “Trade Promotion and International Agreements” was organized at Huu NghiHotel, Dong Ha, Quang Tri on October 19 -23, 2015. This program aims to enhance theparticipants’ capacity in stimulating local economic development via cross-border trade which isrelevant for Quang Tri. The five day training program was taken part by 1 7 senior and mid-levelofficials from government agencies of Quang Tri Province. Among them, 15 participantssuccessfully completed the whole training program. There were altogether five modules coveredin the training. Module 1 introduced the participants with the framework of GMS Cooperationand EWEC Economic Corridor Development highlighting the involvement of Vietnam andQuang Tri in general. Module 2 exposed the participants to the policies, strategies and practicesin trade promotion and facilitation of Quang Tri Province. Module 3 familiarized the participantswith the international and regional agreements which exerted impacts towards the trade sectordevelopment of Quang Tri Province. Finally, Module 4 concluded the training by explaininghow local economies should prepare ahead to embrace the upcoming ASEAN EconomicCommunity (AEC). As the outputs of the training, the participants managed to come up with theproposals of four action plans that could be beneficial towards trade promotion development inQuang Tri Province. The evaluation results of the training demonstrated that the participantswere highly appreciative of the training and it provided the reference to conclude the trainingachieved its objectives. Through a thorough review on the feedbacks of the participants, a set ofrecommendations were made ; such as integrating SLV in the course , inviting participants fromthe private sector and the implementation of the training outside of Dong Ha ; in order toenhance the effectiveness of the training.
Post-Conflict Approaches towards Local Economic Development in Kayin State, Myanmar
Written by Mekong Institute
The Mekong Institute conducted a 5-day training programme on “Post-Conflict Approaches towards Local Economic Development in Kayin State, Myanmar” on August 28- September 1, 2015. Fifteen participants from different government agencies and private sector attended the training. The training aimed to strengthen the skills of the local economic development actors in Kayin State which are necessary to facilitate economic stimulation in the area.
The training took place at Grand Hill Hotel, Hpa-an, Kayin State. Mr.Thuta Aung, the Trainer, Ms. Than Tha Aung, the program facilitator from Mekong Institute, Dr. Thet Thet Mar and Dr. Khin Myat Soe from RLED-EWEC Myanmar office, contributed to the design and delivery of the program with their technical expertise. The training was composed of five modules. Module 1 on Investment Promotion aimed to expose the participant to the concepts of investment promotion and by examining how to effective communicate the opportunities to potential investor to bring in responsible investments into Kayin State. Module 2 on “ASEAN Economic Community and National Export Strategy” was to familiarize the participants with contemporary issues surrounding AEC at the regional level and the NES at the country level. Module 3 on “Private-Public- Partnership and Post Conflict Economic Reconstruction” provided case studies of other countries and creation hypothetical scenarios for Kayin State in the future. Module 4 explored the role of government in stimulating economic development encouraging enterprises and entrepreneurship. The monitoring and evaluation tools employed throughout the program confirmed that the program’s objectives were achieved and the program was successful. Most of the participants were very satisfied with the program as shown in the total average rating by participants on the overall assessment of the training program.
As targeted by the training, this training enabled the participants to produce the action plans that could be implemented using the knowledge attained from the training. As the success of the training will also be measured by the extent in which participants are able to implement their action plans, MI have planned follow-up activities to provide technical support towards their action plan implementation
Group Management and Strengthening Farmer Organizations
Written by Mekong Institute
Group Management and Strengthening Farmer Organization is considered as one of the major challenges for the agricultural development in Laos due to agricultural contribution to GDP is about 26-30% annually.At present, Lao PDRs has almost 3,630 farmer groups (FGs) with 1,864 of plantation and 1,776 of feeding groups, most of them are weak with few members, unstable and limited access to credit and market. Therefore, DAEC have the opportunity to coordinate with MI to conduct a TOT training in Khammouan province for both farmer leader and local government staff with the aim to increase their skills and experiences on necessary technics, government policy and management system for further strengthening of farmer organizations in local areas. The course program was conducted in 7 days from 10-16 March, 2015 including lectures and one-day field visit, group discussion and group action plan development. More than 14 topics have been covered and delivered to 25 participant whose came from PAFO and DAFO, Rice Mill Association and farmer groups. The field visit to successful farmer groups in Sakonnakhon, Thailand including cattle fattening group at Tayeam village and None Yangkham’s cooperatives helped participants learn about group management, production, quality and quantity control among members, value chain, access to credit and market for the sustainability of running group’s business. After the training program, most participants have improved their skills and knowledge as shown in the self-assessment result from 13% at the beginning of the course to 70% at the end. The final evaluation indicated that they can apply what they have learnt to support and improve farmers’ activities in pilot project sites
Group Managment and Strengthening Farmer Organizations
Written by Mekong Institute
This Training of Trainers (TOT) program aims to enhance the capacity of MI partners in pilot provincial sites to become effective capacity development providers and trainers to target local stakeholders, particularly farmers, SMEs, local economic development government officials and agribusiness development service providers. This TOT enables the participants: (i) To localize and deliver this specific training course to target local stakeholders so that jointly they can plan, implement, monitor and evaluate the performance of farmer groups/organizations; and (ii) To acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes to become effective in their changing roles as facilitators, coordinators and service providers in the pilot project sites.
The training was conducted from 8 March to 14 March by Dr. Le Thi Hoa Sen, Senior Researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Extension and Rural Development (FERD) and Msc. Nguyen Thien Tam, lecturer and Head of the Department of Rural Economy, FERD, Hue University, Vietnam. They both have extensive experience in conducting TOT and working with farmer organizations. Participants were key informants who were considered as resource people at the provincial, district and commune level to enable the strengthening of farmer organizations at the project target area.
The training course was designed with 5 modules:
Module 1: Understanding the TOT ProgramModule
2: Marketing planning for agricultural productsModule
3: Farmers’ awareness on market, market access, farming contract negotiation, production cost analysis, and estimating product’s priceModule
4: Group operation/management and sustaining farmer organizationsModule
5: Planning, monitoring, and evaluation of group operation
A half day field trip was conducted by visiting Huong Do farmer organization in Huong Phung commune, one of the most successful farmer organizations established by MI. The training was successfully organized. Although it lasted 7 days, all 18 participants attended from beginning to the end. They actively participated and contributed significantly to the training. The training evaluation demonstrated that all participants were happy with the training contents with approximately 56% of them indicating that the training contents were useful for their work, 37.5% indicated that they felt confident to apply what they learnt from the training into practice and 44% said they were able to apply the contents of the training into practice.
Myanmar Crop Selection and Value Chain Mapping Report
Written by Mekong Institute
Kayin State lies in the south-eastern part of Myanmar and is linked to Thailand. The rural people in Kayin State are poor. In rural areas there has been an on-going conflict between Kayin ethnic group and the government for several years. However, Kayin State is richly endowed with natural resources, including agricultural land for crop production, water resources and minerals (iron, copper, lead, etc.). Farmers grow a variety of crops in fields located on silted-land and on hill-sides. Paddy is the main crop of Kayin State. Most agricultural products are for local consumption. Following the cease fire in that region, border trade to Thailand opened officially six months ago. Myanmar exports agricultural products and others commodities from the interior through the cross-border transit points. Among products from Kayin State, only cash crops, maize and mung bean, are exported to Thailand through Myawaddy and Mae-sot.
This study identifies the alternative crop selections for cross border value chain study and for economic development. The study also identifies trading constraints in order to evaluate the market chains which involve all actors in agriculture production. The overriding goal is to improve the livelihoods of poor farmers by boosting their incomes. The Team interviewed key informants in government departments and in the private sector who participate in maize production and are included in farmer focal groups.
From the survey, it was apparent that almost all Maize grown in Myawaddy is exported to Thailand as raw materials. This trade passes through small traders and collectors. However, it should be noted the produce is not of high quality, mainly because of the heavy rainfall in the producing area.
Maize has market potential for farmers and there is high demand for the product from animal feed factories in Thailand. In addition to current production, the state government is planning to extend Maize production in Hpa-an, as winter crop, in collaboration with CP-Myanmar Group to produce quality products to command a higher price. In spite of the planning, there are production challenges and exporting policy constraints.
Maize is a suitable crop for cross-border exporting due to the capacity of small and medium participating farmers, market ability, easy market access, price stability and the participation of the private sector as a key element the value chain development. In addition, the Kayin State has a good potential for extending maize area due to land capacity, available irrigation system and favorable climatic conditions.
Summary of findings
Summary of key barriers in Maize value chain
- Poor physical infrastructure, especially in terms of farm road, as well as lack of drying facilities and weak facilitation of extension services lead to considerable losses of marketable production.
- Poor facilitation to set up applicable regulations in exporting product officially.
- Unstable security in the maize production area.
- Weak information sharing and facilitation in grading, classification and quality standards to differentiate product pricing and to reward farmers for producing a quality product. An important informational gap is the absence of SPS standards.
- Absence of other market quality standards and certification potentially discourages production of high quality maize.
- Weak association among farmers results in their failure to minimize the high input costs and gives them low bargaining power.
- Insufficient government facilitation in cross-border market transactions
- Absence of efficient market distribution channel for accessing agricultural inputs, particularly seeds and agro-chemicals needed to minimize production cost.
- High cost of hired labor and absence of labor saving devices.
- High input cost and total dependency on imports from Thailand. Agricultural inputs are not available at the local market.
- Absence of a transparent market transaction mechanisms for farmers to trade maize.
- Uncertain Thai government policy to import maize from Myanmar.
- High cost of transporting.
- Trading season is only 2 months per year.
- Monopsony market (single market).
- In Hpa-an, the market is at embryonic stage. There is no local collector/local dealer/ investors yet.
- All maize cross-border trade is done through informal channel which is difficult for government to provide the services and support to the informal value chain nodal players.
- Weak extension services, particularly for rural farming communities
- High use of chemical herbicides and fertilizers may have adverse affect on environment and workers. The use of these inputs will also violate SPS regulations and may prohibit imports from Myanmar in order to protect Thai growers.
- Absence of low cost facilities to help farmers measure moisture content of maize.
- Lack of know-how regarding post-harvest handling and storage techniques, resulting in low prices.
- Weak farmers associations and producing poor quality products to help pool resources and to organize community or attract investors.
- In Myawaddy, local input supplier is not present at local market. Therefore, the market information could not share effectively to small-holder farmers
- Poor on-farm storage facilities and post-harvest handling
- Lack of information about both input and output prices
- Shortage of seasonal labor
- Weak facilitation of department service providers
- Lack of experience of local traders in managing contract farming, processing and value adding activity