Local empowerment and food security are difficult enough to achieve in the global economy; under one of the world’s most notoriously repressive regimes, it is doubly hard. Yet that’s what NEED-Myanmar (Network for Environment and Economic Development) works towards every day.
Since 2006, NEED-Myanmar has been teaching ecologically-sound farming practices to young Burmese at its model farm in Chiang Mai, Thailand – from seed saving and rice planting to mud-brick building and fungi cultivation. In 2013, NEED-Myanmar began operations at a new site in Myanmar itself, the Eco Village Farm School, near the country’s capital of Yangon. It serves as a center for community events such as rice harvesting, a practical school for agricultural training focused on young farmers, and a model for rural resilience across the region. The organization also offers seed grants for model organic farms started by alumni, and an outreach program across four states in Myanmar.
As the country’s government continues to open up its economy to outside forces, NEED-Myanmar’s founder Khaing Dhu Wan believes that his country “must be in the hands of its people – not multinational investors seeking to exploit the country’s natural resources. It is the responsibility of all Burmese people to ensure that the losses of years of civil war were not in vain.” NEED-Myanmar and its group of young farmers are certainly doing their part.
To learn more, visit Need-Myanmar’s website.