School Teacher Turns Village Leader

Farmer Kyin Sai stands with her briquette applicator.

Daw Kyin Sai farms 15 acres of land in the Ayeyarwaddy Region of Myanmar and is a demonstration farmer for the USAID-funded Fertilizer Sector Improvement (FSI+) project. Being a full-time teacher, she did not come to farming with much experience but took on the task of managing her parents’ farm after they passed away. With a little hard work and determination, she now stands as a leader among farmers in her community. Having seen the benefits of urea deep placement (UDP) technology on her own farm, she now promotes it to others.

Sai first received training from the project in 2016, applying her 10 kg sample of urea briquettes she received at the training. She noticed the benefits right away: decreased fertilizer use, fewer weeds, and higher yields. That same season, the FSI+ project established a demonstration plot on her farm to compare and contrast results from the application of UDP, compound fertilizers, urea, and farmer practice.

From the additional trainings since 2016, Sai has learned balanced nutrient management, maximizing input utilization for each season and effectively applying fertilizers according to crop needs. While she saw the benefits of UDP technology, she could only apply it on 2 acres at a time, as she could not hire labor for the rest of her 15 acres.

In 2018, she met U Than Oo (a briquetting machine operator who invented a mechanical briquette applicator) and purchased one of his machines. In early 2019, she was finally able to apply UDP with her mechanical applicator on her entire farm.

“I am using UDP now and forever,” Sai says, “So I bought my own briquette applicator. This season alone, I reduced my urea consumption by 22 bags, saving me [$440 USD], the cost of the machine, so I was able to quickly break even on my investment. Soon I will begin renting my machine to other farmers for a small fee because I would like to contribute to the development of my village and help provide for their needs.”

With her new knowledge and positive experience, she is teaching other farmers in her village and neighboring villages, encouraging them to apply balanced nutrient management. Recently, Sai was selected as a role model for the Regional Seed Fair in Ayeyarwaddy and acts as a liaison between development organizations and her village. She is also a leader in her village’s administration, social activities, religious ceremonies, and other activities, including agricultural development.

Sai concludes, “I really appreciated having received farmer training from IFDC. Without that help, we could not know about UDP technology. I will use this new technology forever.”

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