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San Htay is from Rakhine in Myanmar. He graduated from NEED-Burma MFI school in 2013. He is creating a community development project based around biodiversity, animal husbandry, empowerment and livelihoods training. Check out his project summary below:
*This is one of the 6 projects GCC will assist with
Sittwe Organic Farm
We intend to build an organic farm on the outskirts of Sittwe to grow assorted organic vegetables to sell at the market and to hotels & restaurants in Sittwe as well as to individuals. We also intend to cultivate seedlings of local crops and flowers lost due to the recent conflict in Rakhine State, to provide to local farmers, at low cost price, in order to rebuild our communities and livelihoods. The revenue from selling the vegetables will be the sustaining finance for the project.
The vegetables we intend to sell, mainly, are tomatoes, chilli, radish, eggplants and potatoes. This is because they are easy to grow and maintain, as local plants, and are in demand for local cuisine.
Because the farm will be organic, we can continue with the project in the long-term and expand our enterprise into other environmental conservation activities such as teaching sustainable, organic agriculture to local farmers and continuing the rebuilding of our communities through water management activities.
Poor health and a lack of nutritious food as well as declining local plants
Only 8% of people in Sittwe are farmers so the vegetables they consume come from rural areas and take a long time to transport. When they reach Sittwe, the quality is very poor, almost rotten, sometimes. Vegetables are very important for human health as they contain many necessary vitamins. The people who buy the vegetables don’t know good quality food and the health benefits of organic food. They are buying poor quality, sometimes rotten, food and this is leading to malnutrition, sickness and sometimes hospitalization.
Due to continued recent conflict in Rakhine state many local plants have been lost through fires and battles. These plants are difficult to replace as seedlings for them are very rare around Rakhine state. These flowers and crops are important to local culture and are used in traditional celebrations as well as for food. Unfortunately, this has led to a decrease in maintaining local traditions and our culture, and sense of community pride, is declining.
Affects into the future:
The number of local plants and crops will have increased, the interest in organic farming and food will have increased, not only among customers, but also farmers, cases of malnutrition could be reduced and general health levels improved.
We will monitor and document our progress to distribute information among other communities: the challenges organic farms may face, how to remedy them and the benefits they may gain.W will have the land, materials and seeds to be able to continue growing organic fruit, vegetables and seedlings for sale.
Consult with local people, community groups and leaders to generate interest and build relationships (on-going throughout the project).
Gather materials for farm construction and operation
Finalise farm design
Construct small bamboo house for staff
Start germinating seedlings: mango, coconut and betel nut seedlings.
Prepare soil for planting.
Plant vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage and radish.
Plant local flowers: Indian Lady &
Gather materials for betel leaf planting: bamboo, wooden posts and netting.
Construct a shop/stall for selling crops
Plant betel leaf
Begin to sell seedlings
Harvest and begin to sell vegetables and flowers.
Harvest and begin to sell chilli.
Collect and save seeds for future planting
Crop rotation of vegetables
Maintain harvesting and selling of crops
Prepare plans for year 2.