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)_Semi-annual report Jan-June 2017

This semi-annual report of MYCulture project covers activities delivered and lessons learned during January to June 2017 of which a summary with key highlights are briefed below.
The project has extended its operation in 100 new villages and selected 887 new SSA learning farmers during the reporting period to further test and validate small scale aquaculture technologies. A total of 05 aquaculture systems continued to test 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 the year round, seasonally irrigated and rain fed). The project has also taken initiative to scale out the best practices among 1,100 farmers who will start stocking their ponds from July 2017. Altogether a total of 61 and 18 farmer groups with 678 learning and 887 scaling farmers are formed so far in 152 villages in Delta and CDZ ().
The on-going field trial results are analyzed using the data collected from 1st production cycle of 504 1st batch learning households while rest of the results (i.e. 2nd production cycle of batch 01 farmers and 1st production cycle of 2nd batch farmers) will be analyzed and reported in the annual report 2017. It was revealed from the 1st cycle results that the performance of pangas, rohu, mrigel, silver barb and tilapia were better as compared to other technologies in pond, chan myaung and WISH ponds considering the overall profitability. The overall survivability of the fish stocked in grow-out water bodies in areas supported was more than 60%. Average survival rate of fish fry in nursery ponds were 46%, 45 % and 33.4 % in NAG, GRET and PACT supported areas respectively.
The project is facilitating the process of improving access to micro-credit for the SSA farmers which is one of the key interventions of this period. Eventually, 7 SSA groups managed by GRET has started forming revolving funds with an amount of 5,94,340 MMK (USD 473) which they will use for their aquaculture operations in future. Similar strategy has also been adopted by PACT and NAG. Pact linked SSA farmer groups with community-led revolving Village Development Fund for easier financial accessibility and continuation or future expansion of the SSA activities. NAG will start soon to organize the farmers group who are interested in loan system as initiative in order to engage sustainable aquaculture business.
The project is supporting Hlaw Kar and Daeadye hatcheries, DoF to promote GIFT (Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia) breeding programme for enhancing sustainable aquaculture development in Myanmar through promoting diverse and quality seed supply network for public and private hatcheries/sectors. A total of 23,000 quality GIFT seed produced in these hatcheries during this year which will be raised as future brood (parent) for 2017. The project is also renovated Daeadye hatchery, DoF which is now under operation and produced 500,000 Silver barb seed in May 2017 and will be distributed to the nursery farmers and SSA grow-out farmers in delta by end of July 2017. The project has newly established 23 fish nurseries, of which 9 nurseries have already been stocked, fingerlings produced and distributed among farmers. A total of 136,005 fingerlings from new and existing nurserers were raised and stocked by a total of 352 SSA farmers.
A total of 03 new feed mills are also established by the project and altogether an amount of 19,611 kgs of fish feed from new and existing feed mills are produced for the grow-out farmers.
All of the partners organized learning sharing events (i.e. aqua fair and farmer field day) in CDZ and Delta to share what has been done so far in the project and what are key outcomes. Aqua fairs were organized in Pyapon and Meikhtila on 5th May and 15th June by NAG and PACT respectively, while GRET organized a field day in Bogalay. Similarly, a day long aqua field day was organized by GRET in a village of Bogalay on 14th June. The key objectives of these events were to share the learnings derived from the on-going field trials, challenges and potential opportunities.
The project delivered trainings to CFs from all IPs and DoF staffs mainly on seed distribution network, SSA refresher ToT and M&E on feed conversion ratio (FCR), facilitation skills, and photography. A total of 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. The project also delivered trainings courses on SSA modules (for scaling phase and learning phase) to the SSA farmers through Community Facilitators in CDZ and Delta. The SSA farmers also met themselves on regular basis to review their ongoing field trial results within the communities.
The project continues organizing regular coordination meetings with partners in February, May and June during this reporting period to review progress, follow up the planned activities, discuss on important issues, find possible solutions and assist the partners with the implementation process.
The mid- term review of the project was carried out by LIFT during the reporting period. The key recommendations for the project as suggested by the MTR team were to have the field study data analyzed done prior to moving into scaling phase, reduce extent of subsidy for the project beneficiaries, engaging DoF as one of the partners, strengthening the project conceptual framework, developing a cost-effective scaling strategy, strengthening project HR capacity, review the current Measurement Framework (MF) and purposive focus on policy and practice influence towards End of Project.