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INT06 - Foundations for Farming: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: March 26, 2015

Foundations for Farming (FfF) Training in Myanmar, Feb/March 2015


MCTS, Hmawbi

watching intentlyA three day training was held at Myanmar Centre for Theological Studies (MCTS), Hmawbi, Myanmar from the 23rd-25th February. The area around here is flat and appears reasonably fertile. There were 12 participants who had responded to an invitation from Khup Hlei Thang. There were some MCTS students, some loan recipients and some local farmers. Khup had organised for the short training manual to be translated into Burmese and had printed copies available. Most of the interpreting was done by Van. This proved a great plus for the training that followed in Falam, because he had familiarised himself with the material by then. It was great to have some of the BHW team present (Fraser Scott, Karena George, Mark and Emma Stokes) for support. Because we stayed in a hotel in Yangon it made for a daily trip to and from Hmawbi but that was no major issue.

The training went well and the participants engaged with the material and teaching well. An issue that came up a number of times was that paddy rice growing is different from other crops and therefore some other issues are involved. It was unfortunate that there were a number that could not come for the whole three days and others joined in the training later. That appeared to be, at least partly, caused by the last minute invitations to participate. This means that people miss out on some vital parts of the teaching which they may or may not glean from the others or from the Manual.

not quite big enoughAnother less important issue was that in spite of assurances to the contrary there was not enough material available to make a full compost pile, but there was enough to make the teaching worthwhile. I was satisfied that it was a worthwhile exercise but it will definitely need follow-up.

The participant that showed the most promise to become a FfF teacher was our BHW partner Samuel Thang. He has already proven his ability to grow good crops for a number of years and seemed to really get his head around the FfF methods.  


Falam, Chin State

From there Mark, Van and I travelled to Falam, Chin State, to conduct a training there from the 2nd-3rd March. We had 19 participants here of whom seven were women. Unfortunately, due to flight times, there were only two days available for the course. This proved to be ok since ploughing is not practised here so little time needed to be spent on this issue. Other parts of the training were shortened somewhat or left out but that did not greatly impact the outcome. However it did make for a couple of days of intense training.

keen to learnWe had great engagement from the group and due to local practices (slash and burn) and the very steep terrain, FfF methods have the potential for enormous and fast impact in this area of Myanmar. As mentioned before, Van did an even better job here since he was by now familiar with the teaching. Two local farmers stood out to me as being potential teachers of FfF in the future, one of whom was also a Baptist pastor.

Khup’s efforts of getting the Manual translated and printed has been essential in getting these results. It proved to be difficult to change US dollars to Kyats in Falam even though there is a bank there, so it pays to bring enough Kyats. 

On the visit to this area last year, Mark and Khup met a number of people who had requested for us to come and do FfF training, but they were not involved this time. When the follow-up visit happens I intend to involve those people. We could also do a training in Van’s home village, which is not far from Kalaymyo, as well. 


John Vlaming
BHW Agricultural Director