The agricultural regions in Myanmar’s south benefit only marginally from the country’s general economic growth. Rice farmers constitute the key target group in this project. The effects of market interventions in this value chain allow them to achieve commercial success through efficient means of production and quality seed.
The goal of the project “Linking Labutta to markets” (LLM) is to improve the performance of smallholder farmers in the rice value chain and to provide diverse off-farm employment and economic opportunities for landless and vulnerable women and men.
A market development approach is at the forefront of the LLM project design and builds on the successes from Mercy Corps and AYO’s Beyond Recovery project, implemented in Labutta Township since 2011. Market interventions in the rice value chain have flourished; farmer organisations have developed into market-oriented cooperatives engaged in contract farming with millers and delivering a range of other services to their members including access to high-quality inputs and quality seed. LLM strengthens and expands these successes.
In order to support landless women and men to ‘step up’ and ‘step out’, LLM takes a new, more intensive approach focusing on skills, apprenticeships and market linkages that result in concrete employment opportunities and occupations with market potential. To achieve this, the project is working with Farmer Producer Enterprises FPEs, private sector actors and government to catalyse changes in market institutions and structures that are sustainable, and which offer the potential for continued adaptation and growth over time.
Additional support is given to rural landless individuals to ‘step-up’ into occupations with commercial potential at the village level, and ‘step-out’ into better paid employment opportunities. The project may also support a small number of vulnerable smallholder farmers to ‘step-out’ of agriculture into more productive non-farm activities.
These interventions -vocational skills and employment programmes - are provided with the active involvement of private sector businesses.
The project has extended its outreach to strengthen the capacity of the government-run Labutta Mechanical Training School, working to expand the Farm Machinery Mechanics and Construction occupational areas to include industry-based trainings as part of the curricula and post-graduation services.
As part of its skills development activities links with, and between, the National Skills Standard Authority (NSSA) and private sector partners are fostered to facilitate the recognition of occupational skills. It has also started working with two local civil society organisations to improve the sustainability of the skills training market in Labutta.
LLM will facilitate linkages to higher value rice and employment markets locally, regionally, and nationally for 3,700 smallholder rice farmers and 1,575 landless and vulnerable women and men.
Mercy Corps Scotland
Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
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