Logo Triangle génération humanitaire




Improving food security in rural areas in Chin State


Sécurité alimentaire et moyens d'existence

Food security and livelihoods





FROM 10/2012 TO 11/2013




During the rainy season, landslides are frequent and affect food crops, gravity fed water distribution networks and access roads. Agricultural practices, such as slash and burn cultivation¹, accelerate deforestation and increase vulnerability to landslides.

95% of Chin State inhabitants directly or indirectly depend on agriculture for their survival. The destructive and non-permanent nature of shorter fallow periods and slash and burn techniques are the main reasons for reduced soil fertility and low yields. In 2007, a ​​plague of rodents aggravated food insecurity, and in 2011, irregular rainfall severely affected crops in the southern part of the State.

In November 2011, we were approached by the executives of the local association Ar Yone Oo (AYO), mainly coming from Chin State, and in search of an international organization to initiate a partnership and conduct an assessment in the south of the State. The consortium TGH / AYO conducted an assessment in 13 villages in the township of Madupi. The results and discussions with community members helped develop this project aiming both at meeting short-term needs and at addressing substantive issues.

The expertise developed by TGH on food security issues in Myanmar will be shared with the association AYO, while the members of this association will let TGH benefit of their knowledge of Chin State and of their closeness to local populations.

Improving food security in Chin State rural areas requires an increased and secured production capacity of farmers, through the protection, rehabilitation and extension of arable land and the improvement of agricultural techniques and irrigation systems.

Two types of structures are being considered for flooded rice cultivation:

The completion of these works, which are extremely labor intensive (the use of machines being inadequate), will be based on a cash for work scheme, which has the advantage of providing income to vulnerable households at a particularly crucial time. In parallel with the development of rice fields, parcels will be fenced to protect crops from damage caused by animals.

In order to significantly strengthen local production, 1200 baskets of improved varieties of rainfed rice seeds and 800 baskets of rice seeds for flooded rice cropping will be distributed in 11 villages practicing this type of cultivation. 160 baskets of corn seeds will be distributed in eight targeted villages.

Since the quantities of basic food crops will not be able to cover all the needs, even with a strong productivity growth, high-value cash crops will also be part of the project. Revenues generated will provide the necessary financial resources to purchase food during the lean period.

Crop diversification, including the development of vegetable crops, will increase food availability. The introduction of such crops to a larger scale than that of the home gardens currently in place should improve the nutritional status of populations and provide an additional source of income.

Technical training will be provided to farmers to support and promote the introduction of these new agricultural practices. These training courses will focus on capacity building of producer organizations and on the management of natural resources, the aim being the establishment of community-based schemes promoting the boosting of rural activities. Emphasis will also be placed on a fair balance between auto-consumed food crops, market gardens and crops intended to be marketed.

This technical support will be complemented by awareness-raising on the adequate management of natural resources, including agricultural water development (irrigated areas), soil conservation techniques, and forest conservation and valuing measures. A dozen farmers per village will attend these training sessions and will be responsible for relaying these techniques to other villagers, to allow the emergence of experienced farmers with an innovative approach.

¹Slash and burn cultivation is an agricultural system in which fields are cleared by fire, which allows the transfer of fertility, and are then cultivated for a short period of time before being left fallow for a long time (mainly forest fallow). Existing since prehistoric times, this extensive shifting agriculture scheme can lead to lasting land degradation. (Wikipedia)