To be called “sayar” (teacher) is high praise in Myanmar, but that is exactly what the smallholder farmers call Aung Ko Latt. The 42-year-old Aung Ko Latt is one of the technical trainers in the East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer team, based at Pwint Phyu Township in Myanmar.
Through hands-on guidance and instruction, mentors like Latt are teaching smallholder farmers across the region how to increase their harvest while maintaining sustainable farming practices.
When Aung Ko Latt first arrived in the Township he noticed that there were weaknesses with traditional farming methods, including bad cultivation and flooded farmlands. Through demonstration farms, the EWS team is teaching local farmers how to extend their farming methods to cultivate more and better produce. When the vegetables are ready for picking, EWS and their team invite fellow farmers from the community to partake in the harvest to display the product of their newfound knowledge. The outcomes of these “exhibition harvests” have been so successful that farmers from distant villages have been known to travel great distances to witness the event.
Retailers, such as seed sellers, have also been an important factor in spreading the word about proven systematic cropping methods, encouraging many of their clients to observe the successful demonstration farms.
EWS’s methods and knowledge transfer have changed farmers’ lives, with many farmers now able to purchase homes and send their children to school. And, most importantly, they have the necessary resources to plan for next year’s crop.