ACIAR_Development of Rice Fish Systems (RFS) in the Ayeyarwady Delta, Myanmar: MYRice-Fish_Annual report 2017 - 2018

The ACIAR project entitled ‘Development of Rice Fish Systems (RFS) in the Ayeyarwady Delta, Myanmar” was approved by ACIAR 23rd June 2017 and signed by WorldFish on the same date. An inception workshop was held with stakeholders on the 3rd July 2017. Implementation in Myanmar started on the signing of a Record of Discussion (RoD) between the MoALI Departments (Fisheries, Agriculture and Agriculture Research), IRRI and WorldFish on the 12th October 2017 (RoD annex 1). A memorandum of Agreement between WorldFish and IRRI was signed 20 February 2018.
Progress to date includes advances on all three outputs with most work focussed on aspects of outputs one and two (PowerPoint from the Project Steering Committee meeting 13th May 2018 annex 2):
The overall aim of the project is to improve productivity and profitability of rice-fish systems (RFS) in Myanmar, with a focus on favourable agro-ecological zones in the Ayeyarwady delta.
The major research questions addressed by this project are:
1. What key factors influence productivity, profitability and livelihood outcomes from RFS across key agro-ecological zones of the Ayeyarwady delta.
2. In which agro-ecological zones in the delta, and for which types of farmers, are RFS a viable avenue for enhancing livelihoods and nutrition?
3. What improvements in rice and fish management practices can increase RFS productivity, profitability and livelihood outcomes?
4. What are the effects of integration of fish and rice farming systems on water, soil, nutrient and pest management?
5. What are the barriers to gender-equitable outcomes from RFS improvements, including gendered inequities in assets and labour allocation and to what extent can RFS improvements contribute to women’s empowerment?
6. What are the obstacles to adoption and scaling out of RFS improvements, and what investments will facilitate their widespread dissemination in Myanmar?
There are three Outputs (progress in bold text):
1. Characterise rice-fish systems in the Ayeyarwady delta (Research Questions 1&2). 15% of budget and effort.
A characterization study has been completed (annex 3). Experimental site selection criteria have been agreed and year-one experiment sites selected annex 4.
2. Identify improvements in rice-fish production and management systems that optimise gender-equitable income, food and nutritional outcomes (Research Questions 3&4) 55% of budget and effort. Dry season experimental work has been concluded at two sites. Experimental design annex 5. Initial results from the dry season (December 2017 to May 2018) are now available annex 6.
3. Strengthen the capacity and enabling environment for research, dissemination and uptake of improvements in rice-fish systems (Research Questions 5&6) 30% of budget and effort. Work has been carried out in close coordination between WorldFish-IRRI, and the three MoALI departments (Fisheries, Agriculture and Agriculture Research). The farms where the on-farm trials have taken place have also been actively involved. Training has including the advantages of seeding rice with a drum-seader, pest control