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FARMING FOR THE FUTURE

StarKids’ newest initiative helps small-scale farmers in Myanmar learn to dream big. By Kervin Mathew.

Growing vegetables in your backyard can be quite rewarding. However, for some farmers in Myanmar, it’s their only source of livelihood. Aung San Win is one of many farmers living in a small village in Yangon where the farming community was limited, not only in terms of farmland, but also agricultural knowledge and market access. Because of these issues, their livelihoods were at the mercy of middlemen who often paid low prices for their produce.

In 2018, World Vision initiated a training program for these farmers and set up a partnership with a local supermarket chain, City Mart, to sell their produce at fair prices. A team of specialists taught farmers about the technical aspects of agricultural practices, such as effective crop selection, irrigation and processing and, in less than a year, the farmers were able to start selling their produce to City Mart. This marked the first time a successful collaboration had been established between local farmers and a supermarket chain in Myanmar.

“We did not get what we deserve before. No matter how much we produced or how hard we tried to produce the best quality crops, our earnings did not reflect our workloads,” says Aung San Win.

Even the middlemen have had a change of heart since their monopoly has been overthrown and started offering the farmers better prices for their produce.

Aung San Win now leads a group of 20 farmers from his community. Thanks to the support of StarKids, farmers like him are seeing their hard work come to fruition. “We were once just ordinary farmers with little agricultural knowledge,” he says. “But now we know what we want to be in the future and how we can achieve that dream.”