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Listing 9 publications.

National Consultation report on Enabling Regulatory Environment for Facilitating Cross-Border Trade Along the GMS East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC)

National Consultation report on Enabling Regulatory Environment for Facilitating Cross-Border Trade Along the GMS East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC)

Category: Trade and Investment Facilitation, RLED-EWEC Publications
Pages: 46
Year: 2017
Link: Download


RLED-EWEC Brochure

RLED-EWEC Brochure

Category: RLED-EWEC Publications, Brochure
Year: 2016
Link: Download


Capacity Development Training Program on Trade Promotion and International Agreements

Capacity Development Training Program on Trade Promotion and International Agreements

Category: RLED-EWEC Publications
Year: 2015

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

Post-Conflict Approaches towards Local Economic Development in Kayin State, Myanmar

Category: RLED-EWEC Publications, Completion Reports
Year: 2015

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

Group Management and Strengthening Farmer Organizations

Category: Completion Reports, RLED-EWEC Publications
Year: 2015

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

Group Managment and Strengthening Farmer Organizations

Category: Completion Reports, RLED-EWEC Publications
Year: 2015

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

Myanmar Crop Selection and Value Chain Mapping Report

Category: RLED-EWEC Publications
Year: 2013

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

Governance

  • 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

Market Constraints

  • 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.

Institutional

  • 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

Human Resources

  • 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

Rice Value Chain Analysis in Khammouane, Lao PDR

Rice Value Chain Analysis in Khammouane, Lao PDR

Category: RLED-EWEC Publications
Year: 2013

Written by Mekong Institute

This report is an integral part of the project "Capacity Development for a More Inclusive and Equitable Growth, Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)". Basically, the report integrates the findings from literature review and desk research coupled with observations and interviews conducted during field visits in March and April 2013 and supplemented by cross-examination with key players in the public and private sectors as well as development projects at various nodes of the rice value chain.

Guided by the objective of the project paper on "Value Chain Prioritizing and Selection" in Khammouane, Lao PDR, to the authors have orientated this rice value chain analysis towards assessing the current status and requirements for value chain strengthening. Sub-objectives include designing specific strategies to improve productivity, income and growth in the upstream nodes (input providers, farmers and supportive organizations of production units); in the midstream nodes (milling and other processing units); and the downstream nodes (retailers and international traders) and their impacts on commercial rice value chains in Khammouane.

At the end of rice value chain analysis, key recommendations have emerged to target increasing productivity by using good-quality seeds and modern production techniques, improving water supply management and extension services, establish grading and rice quality standards/ certification for global markets, maintaining and upgrading farm to market roads. The main recommendations are targeted on the upstream nodes of the rice value chain. For the midstream nodes expanding financial services to improve access to inputs and encouraging private firms such as miller to increase their participation in international trade and investment. At the downstream nodes, recommendations include enhancing trade facilitation and improving export processing.

Additional summary conclusions from this analysis include the following:

Summary of Key Barriers in Rice Value Chain

Market Constraints

  • High input costs and limitation of access to inputs, especially for individual smallholder farmers
  • Absence of contract farming mechanisms and regulations for enforcement
  • High cost of transportation as a result of poor farm-to-market roads
  • Rice cross-border trade is done through single exporter; therefore there is a monophony market with insufficient competition.
  • Low price of rice, caused mainly by government policies on restricting exports and expanding food security reserves
  • Insufficient financial services and high interest rates result in low investment in the value chain
  • Low rice milling efficiencies result from insufficient in efficient milling equipment and rice mill management.

Governance

  • Uncertain rice standards and certification for global market competitiveness
  • Poor physical infrastructure, especially farm-to-market roads and poorly managed irrigation systems
  • Weak information sharing and facilitation in grading, classifying and standardizing to differentiate product pricing and to encourage farmers to produce good rice qualities.
  • Lack of regulatory framework and enforcement of contracts.
  • Weak information sharing and promotion of getting private input suppliers involved in supporting farmers to obtain better access to inputs.
  • Ineffective flood management program resulting in production losses, especially during rainy season

Institutional

  • Weak extension services, particularly for individual farmers in rural farming communities
  • Increasing and inefficient use of chemical fertilizers may have adverse affects on environment and production costs
  • Absence of farm level technology, particularly to measure the moisture content of rice

Human Resources

  • Little knowledge on post-harvest management resulting low rice prices
  • Labor shortage with increasing rural wages

A Value Chain Analysis of Coffee in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam

A Value Chain Analysis of Coffee in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam

Category: RLED-EWEC Publications
Year: 2013

Written by Mekong Institute

The study “A value chain analysis of coffee in Quang Tri Province” was carried out in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam from 27 March to 9 April with aims to provide understanding about the coffee value chain with regards to stakeholders engaging in the value chain and their relationship, product flow, information and knowledge flow, cost and profit patterns of value chain actors as well as factors that affect the chain such as input and logistic service, infrastructure and technology. Additionally, socio-economic factors (i.e. gender, ethnicity and poverty) are also addressed. The study serves to provide information based on which the interventions for the project “Capacity Development for a More Inclusive and Equitable Growth in the Greater Mekong Sub-region Project” funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


The study employs both qualitative and quantitative methods. Structured interviews were conducted with value chain actors (i.e. exporters, processors, collectors and farmers) on such issues as cost and profit information, productivity, resource access, marketing, policy and regulations as well as problems and constraints. In-depth interview was carried out with the supporters to understand their functions, roles and responsibilities. Focal group discussion was used to understand about the role of gender in coffee production, such as division of labor, livelihood strategies, financial decision-making and constraints and issues in the coffee production of the different social groups.


While up to 95 percent of coffee produced in Vietnam is Robusta, coffee in Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province is mostly Arabica (Catimor variety) and a small amount of Liberica coffee. The weather in the district is favorable for the coffee variety because it rains in April – when coffee plants are in blossom. This is the reason why farmers can still produce coffee while there is no irrigation system in the area. As harvest season falls from late September – December when there is limited sunshine, coffee cherry here undergo wet processing – which is more costly but better in quality control compared with dry processing method. Coffee in Huong Hoa also follows 4C and UTZ standards. Most coffee green bean is exported to EU market (e.g. Germany, Netherland, etc). Some goes to America and Japan market. Coffee is mainly exported in form of green bean in 60kg sack. Coffee sector receives considerable supports from government because it is in line with the poverty alleviation for ethnic minority in Vietnam while many of coffee producers in Huong Hoa district belong to the ethnic minority and the poor group.


However, coffee sector in Huong Hoa district is faced with a number of constraints. First, the yield of coffee is rather low (only 10 tons of cherry/ hectare on average according to 2012 annual report of Huong Hoa District Department of Agriculture, while it can reach to 20 tons of cherry/hectare under proper cultivation techniques). One of the reasons is that about half of the coffee area is old (around 15-18 years) and need to be replaced. Especially, the coffee yield of Bru-Van Kieu farmers is even much lower due to the fact that they cannot afford to buy as much fertilizer as recommended. These are also the reasons hampering coffee quality. In terms of volume, the demand of processors is more than what producers can supply. On the one hand, this leads to high depreciation cost of the processor as their processing machines are only used during the harvesting season. On the other hand, the farmers have no incentive to produce good quality coffee cherry because processors would buy whatever quality to feed their machine. It is reported that farmers pick high percentage of green cherry than being allowed (5 percent of green cherry at maximum). They also put the coffee cherry into water to make it heavier. Fortunately, the situation is getting much better with the initiative of Inter-department Committee for Tax and Environment Regulation in Agricultural Trade by the Huong Hoa District’s People Committee.


Inaddition, there is weak linkage among different actors in the value chain to share information, commitments and risks. Farmers lack of knowledge on export quality requirements and commitments to quality standard. Processors also reported that they lack of knowledge on quality testing. Meanwhile, both actors have little information on market price and customers’ preferences in export market. They also have limited voice in price determination. As Arabica Catimor coffee in Vietnam is mainly for exports, the sector depends largely on international market. In the downturn of international coffee market, the coffee exporters in Quang Tri province also have to face with a lot of challenges.


In this regards, it will require different tailor-made capacity building packages and awareness raising activities for all actors in the value chain – farmers, collectors, processors and exporters - together with the government officers who regulate the sectors. For example, capacity building on production techniques (especially using certified seedlings and organic fertilizer) and farmer group formation targets to farmers; capacity building on product development, entrepreneurship and SMEs cluster for processors and exporters; capacity building on GAP, GMP and facilitation skills for government officers. Structure learning visit on contract farming may be a cross-cut topic for all actors as means of both knowledge and awareness raising. In so doing, the productivity and quality of coffee producers and processors will be enhanced. Meanwhile, market system is better regulated when the capacity of the officers who involved in local economic development is increased. In this manner, the value chain actors will be able to integrate more in regional and global value chain, increase their income and contribute to local and regional economic development.