Project Sites in Khammouane, Lao PDR
The Lao PDR government is striving to make Khammoune Province the rice hub of the country and of the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Located along the border with Thailand and Vietnam, this province has suitable conditions for growing rice, including an irrigation system. The government has set relevant policies and regulations for promoting a rice value chain, which would serve as a gateway to local economic development. However, this effort is being constrained by the low quality of the local rice and limited marketing and trade opportunities The EWEC project is helping to alleviate these barriers through the following initiatives:
- improving the productivity and quality of local rice by educating farmers about certified rice seeds and making them readily available;
- encouraging farmers to grow organic rice or use Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) when growing standard rice and helping them to certify and sell the rice;
- improving the facilities and capacity of rice millers, educating them on good manufacturing practices (GMP) and encouraging them to apply those practices, and facilitating the certification process;
- helping rice millers tap new markets and building the capacity of the local rice mill association/cooperative; and
- improving cross-border trade facilitation for agricultural commodities.
Project Sites in Kayin State, Myanmar
Maize has the potential to be a profitable crop for farmers in Kayin State, Myanmar. The natural conditions of the State are suitable for growing maize as a winter crop and there is strong demand for the crop from the poultry feed industry in Myanmar, Thailand and China. However, very few farmers in the State grow winter maize. This can be attributed to political instability, a high migration rate and limited knowledge and awareness among farmers and government technical staff about the benefits of growing maize. As the production of maize is almost non-existent, there is no maize market system in Kayin State. The EWEC project is encouraging farmers to grow maize and facilitating the establishment of a maize market in the State by:
- raising awareness among farmers about the benefits of growing maize and giving instructions on maize cultivation;
- making quality seeds and fertilizer available for potential maize farmers through agri-input companies and retailers;
- providing farmers with post-harvest management skills and helping to identify suitable threshing facilities;
- encouraging local agricultural commodity traders to trade maize and exploring potential maize markets within and outside Myanmar; and
- improving cross-border trade facilitation.
Project Sites in Quang Tri, Vietnam
The Vietnam project site, Huong Hoa District, is in the western part of Quang Tri Province, one of the poorest provinces in Vietnam. The province, which borders Lao PDR and is inhabited by a large number of ethnic minorities, is a production hub of Arabica coffee. Coffee production can be highly profitable and has the potential to lift the local farmers out of poverty. However, high production cost, low productivity and the poor quality of the coffee have limited the development of a coffee sector within the district. To address these issues, the project is doing the following:
- supporting the formation and development of farmer groups to give them a greater voice and boost their negotiating power, as well as make their voice more heard and enhance their status and role in the coffee value chain;
- boosting coffee productivity and improving the quality of the coffee by providing training to farmers on coffee cultivation, replantation, intercropping, caring, fertilizer application and harvesting;
- strengthening the links among the participants in the coffee value chain, particularly farmers, coffee processing enterprises and input service providers, with the intent to provide farmers with more and better channels for selling coffee and buying inputs;
- establishing a coffee association to provide policy advocacy services, serve as a platform for coffee value chain participants to extend and share best practices and develop and promote a collective coffee brand to make the coffee better known in the high-end markets; and
- extending LED trainings and practical recommendations generated from a cross-border trade study to relevant public and private agencies with the objective to help them plan local development more effectively and carry out public services to project beneficiaries more efficiently.