LIFT_Promoting sustainable growth of aquaculture in Myanmar to improve food security and income for communities in the Ayeyarwady Delta and Central Dry Zone (MYFish-Culture-MYFC)_Narrative report 2017

This annual report of MYCulture project covers activities delivered and lessons learned during January to December 2017 of which a summary with key highlights are briefed below.
During the reporting period farmer groups were formed across 152 villages in the Delta and CDZ regions. Six hundred seventy eight learning farmers divided into 61 groups and 887 scaling farmers formed 18 groups (Table 1). A total of five aquaculture systems continued to be tested in the learning phase under different systems (ponds, chan myaung and WISH ponds) in Delta and CDZ under various water availabilities and access regimes (irrigated all year round, seasonally irrigated and rain-fed).
The results of the on-going field trials were analysed using the data collected from the 1st and 2nd production cycles of 499 and 61 learning farmers respectively, and 1st cycle of 100 2nd batch learning farmers. The analysis of the results of the first cycle showed that overall profitability was higher for pangas, rohu, mrigal, silver barb and tilapia than for other technologies in all three water bodies. The overall survival rate of fish stocked in grow-out water bodies was more than 60%. Average survival rate of fish fry in nursery ponds was 46%, 45 % and 33 % in NAG, GRET and PACT supported areas respectively.
One of the key interventions of this period was facilitating access for SSA farmers to micro-credit. GRET established for a total of 13 savings funds (10 GRET + 3 WHH) gathering 173 persons and nearly 2 million MMK in 2017. In order to support community and aquaculture development, both feed makers and nursery farmers agreed to contribute to the saving fund by giving 15% of their profit. The learning phase farmers supported by PACT were linked with the Village Health Development fund which is the village base fund formed with the membership of the community. After the aqua-farmers group is formed, the members are provided cash grant by project through the VHDF committee and they become the member of the VHDF and can take loan for implementing aquaculture and other business purposes. For scaling, each farmer group formed the SSA committee under the supervision of VHDF and become the subcommittee of VHDF and run as specific aqua-fund group for aqua-farming purpose. NAG will organize farmers who are interested in a loan system into groups in order to encourage sustainable aquaculture business development.
The project supports the DoF-operated Hlaw Kar and Daedaye hatcheries to promote the GIFT (Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia) breeding programme in order to reinforce sustainable aquaculture development in Myanmar. The aim is to establish a diversified seed supply network that is able to provide quality seed to both public and private hatcheries. Hlaw Kar and Daedaye produced a total 23,000 quality GIFT seed in 2017. This seed was raised and used as broodstock in 2017 and will continue to be used for seed production in 2018. The Daedaye hatchery, which was renovated by the project, produced 500,000 Silver barb fry in May 2017. The fries were distributed to nursery farmers and SSA grow-out farmers in the Delta region in July 2017. The project has newly established 23 fish nurseries, of which 9 nurseries already produced fingerlings and distributed them among farmers. A total of 136,005 fingerlings from new and existing nurserers were raised and stocked by a total of 352 SSA farmers.
Three new feed mills were established by the project in 2017. So far, 32 feed mills were established and a total of 28 are being operated at full capacity. Details about how the small feed mills were set up and adapted in the project area are described in the annual report of 2016. During this reporting period, 85,320 kg of pellets was produced and distributed to 1,581 farmers.
All of the partners organized learning-and-sharing events (i.e. aqua fair and farmer field day) with the project stakeholders in CDZ and Delta to share what has been done so far in the project and what the key outcomes were. The key objectives of these events were to share lessons learned from the on-going field trials, challenges, and potential opportunities. Aqua fairs were organized in Pyapon and Meiktila on 5th May and 15th June by NAG and PACT respectively, while GRET organized a field day in Bogalae. Similarly, a day-long aqua field day was organized by GRET in a village of Bogalae on 14th June.
The project delivered trainings on the seed distribution network, facilitation skills, and photography. A refresher training on ToT and M & E, with a special focus on feed conversion ratio (FCR) was also organised. These trainings were organised for community facilitators of the IPs and DoF staff. In total 34 CFs, 45 farmers, 15 participants from WorldFish, Church World Service (CWS), Fisheries Development Association (FDA), World Health Welthungerhilfe (WHH), International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and 28 DoF staff participated in the training courses. Small scale aquaculture training modules (for learning and scaling farmers) were organised in CDZ and Delta. The courses were given by community facilitators from our IPs. The SSA farmers met on a regular basis to discuss the results of the field trial with the local community.
Pact and WorldFish team conducted a scoping visit to Saline township for potential extension of new township in 2018. The decision was to move to saline to extend the working areas of the project and engage new scaling farmers in 2018. Similarly GRET is also extended their activities in Pyapon in collaboration with WHH to scale out the SSA technologies to new farmers.
The mid-term review of the project was carried out by LIFT. The key recommendations for the project, as suggested by the MTR team, were (1) to have the field study data analysed done prior to moving into scaling phase, (2) reduce extent of subsidy for the project beneficiaries, (3) engage DoF as an implementing partner, (4) strengthen the project conceptual framework, (5) develop a cost-effective scaling strategy, (6) strengthen HR capacity, (7) review the current Measurement Framework (MF) and purposive focus on policy and practice influence towards End of Project. Accordingly, the project team has done the analysis and shared the results in the semi-annual report. Further analysis was done including data collected from farmers who harvested their ponds after June 2017. The project has also started a dialogue with DoF on how they could be engaged in the project to help scale up and scale the developed technologies. The plan is to extend the project activities in 6 townships across four regions (Nay Pyi Taw, Bago, Mon, and Kayar).