Along the road that leads to Myin Kun, in the heart of Myanmar, the landscape is arid. Although the rainy season has only just finished, the land is already dry. With less than 600 millimeters of rain a year, against 2,400 on average, in addition to a sandy soil, the Dry Zone is aptly named. It covers 10% of the country and is home to almost 18% of its population, which mainly makes its livelihood from farming.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), extreme weather events (droughts and heavy rains) are already largely exacerbated by climate change in this area. Access to irrigation is therefore a crucial factor for the food security of people… and not only in Myin Kun.
To address this challenge, the Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture is implementing a project, with AFD’s support, which combines rehabilitating irrigation structures and developing more water-efficient farming methods with higher yields. The objective: sustainably increase food security and the incomes of farmers.
To delegate part of the management and maintenance of irrigated areas, the project has also supported the creation of a Water Users Association. Its aim is simple: train and mobilize users for the maintenance of the channel and pumps to ensure their sustainability after the project ends.
The members of the association, which include U Koko Mg and U Hla Myo Oo, are also trained in the administrative, legal and legislative aspects related to their functions. It is the first structure of its kind to be officially registered in Myanmar.
“Water is a valuable resource that we must use as best we can. While the Water Users Association is still in the structuring phase, its members are showing their commitment to come up with solutions themselves and optimally manage this resource… This is a really good sign for the future”, Marie-Cécile Thirion, AFD’s Director in Myanmar, is pleased to say. “I hope that in a few years’ time, study tours will be organized in these two irrigated areas, and that the way they operate will serve as an example to extend this project to other regions. It’s certainly well on its way in any case!”