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 2018

This semi-annual report of MYCulture project covers activities delivered and lessons learned during January to June 2018 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. During the reporting period farmer groups were formed across 416 villages in the MYCulture project regions. One thousand three hundred and fifty seven scaling farmers are formed 82 farmers’ groups. 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). During reporting period, a total of 499,754 fingerlings were stocked in grow out ponds in fifteen townships collaboration with PACT, GRET, NAG and DoF. A total of 220,300 fingerlings were distributed from existing nursery farms in project area. Average survival rate of fish fry in nursery ponds in 2018 was 72 % in NAG, 28 % in GRET and 64% in 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 project extended this intervention in Mandalay and Shwebo in collaboration with DoF and MFF, and established two new tilapia hatcheries. The aim is to establish a diversified seed supply network that is able to provide quality seed to both public and private hatcheries.
Overall, during this reporting period, 17 new nurseries were established in both Pyapon and Daedaye (NAG area) in Delta, 3 nursery ponds in Yinmarbin and Meiktila (PACT area). A total of 220,300 fingerlings out of total production of 362,465 - (all nurseries)- were stocked in the fish ponds from all batches (batch 1-4).
A total of 32 feed mills were established so far with the supports from the project at community level of which 30 mills are under operation. During this reporting period, 11,195 kg of pellets was produced and distributed to 449 farmers. A total of 104,332 kg of pellets was produced from these mills which and used by 2,082 farmers to fed this fish.
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 biosecurity and a refresher training on ToT. These trainings were organised by WorldFish for the IP staff, DoF staffs, some nursery farmers, and farmer leaders . IP (GRET) delivered bio-security training in the field to share the knowledge attained from the training organized by WorldFish. Similarly, apart from regular SSA module trainings PACT organized two sessions of leadership training in Yinmarbin and Meikhtila for farmer leaders from batch 3.
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 project introduced one community based aquaculture unit in Ywar Thit Village in Meiktila. This initiative was taken during late 2017 and started implementation at the end of 2017. A total of 45 farmers are involving in this business through shared investment and community grant provided by project. The community based aquaculture is fully operated by the management of community led committee. Similarly, project introduced women led aquaculture group in Yinmarbin, where a total of 15 female farmers are involved.
A total of 03 business models on grow-out farmers, nursery operators and feed mills are to be developed to know whether the these business can survive, and generate the income and benefits that the entrepreneur requires to make it worthwhile. The business model on feed mill is drafted so far and attached as annex with this report while rest of the models will be developed by August 2018. Overall, the time and money he spent in setting up the feed mill seemed to be a minor expense when compared with the long-term benefits of the business model. It was noticed that variable costs are the costs that increase the more that you produce. In the feed milling business model, most of the variable costs are the ingredients for the feed, but there may be other variable costs too. The key assume made that the business does not form one part of a larger, more complex business. Rather, it is a stand-alone business that neither needs support from another business model, nor does it offer support to another business model.
A study was conducted during this reporting period to find out the various challenges faced by SMEs on the aquaculture sector. The study will also inform the various challenges that hinder the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Myanmar, the contributions made to the economy of SMEs.