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Community / Land projects / Supporting Smallholder Rubber Farmers

Supporting Smallholder Rubber Farmers

€0

07/20 - 08/22

Completed

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General

Background to the role of smallholder rubber farmingSmallholder operations have the potential to be more environmental friendly and efficient in comparison with large-scale plantations. Nevertheless in practice this is often not the case and inefficient use of pesticides and fertilizers is observed.Smallholders could achieve higer levels of productivity (yields per ha) in the rubber sector if the smallholders use quality planting stock (clones) and good agricultural practices. The challenges for smallholders are to access high quality clones and to carry out proper maintenance and tapping practices. Furthermore most smallholder farmers are not creditworthy due to the insecurity of land rights which leads to a lack of collateral for loans. Also access to the market from a simple logistic point of view until meeting the quality parameters of the international markets are serious hurdles for rubber smallholders in Myanmar.Therefore rubber smallholders are in need of support to achieve better yields income and market access. Myanmar is still in the process of defining its development path in the rubber sector due to the recent opening and political transition. Due to an increasing demand combinated with an huge potential rubber production in Myanmar is expanding rapidly.In Southern Myanmar the smallholder model is still more prevalent. However more large- scale rubber concessions linked to foreign investment have been granted since 2010. In total more than 400 000 smallholders farmers are involved in rubber production and smallholders with plantations of less than eight hectares represent more than 90% of all plantations in the country. Smallholders are complaining about low prices on the one hand and increasing production costs on the other which is reducing their incomes. As rubber plantations are perennial producers cannot easily switch to other crops. Currently most smallholder farmers have no other option than to sell the traders at the given price.In 2013 the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG) has launched a project on the ‘Sustainable Natural Rubber initiative (SNRi)’ in which representatives of industry and production work together along the entire value chain. These include the five largest tyre manufacturers and the European Tyre and Rubber Association. Criteria and guidelines were developed to improve the productivity and quality of natural rubber.For individual smallholders certification of sustainable natural rubber is costly and complex but the monitoring of single farmers in a certain small geographical area could be an option to explore. Strengthening participation possibilities for smallholder organizations is key to success in this regard.

Objectives

The objectives of the consultancy are (1) to train small farmers for knowledge in the value chain cooperative organizational management (2) to coach farmers’ organization to perceive organizational behaviour business plan development and cooperative management and (3) to monitor and evaluate their own organization through specific financial policy.Main OutcomesThe main outcome of Agriterra’s activities within WWF’s project on Sustainable Rubber is to establish build and strengthen rubber farmer cooperatives. By the end of Agriterra’s intervention we can measure the number of established and operational farmer groups:By April 2022 21 farmer groups have been established strengthened (by being trained on Organizational Capacity Value Creation Lobby amp; Advocacy Record Keeping and Marketing) and operationalised. Also one of the main outcomes will be the strengthening of TRPPA and the Rubber Stakeholders Committee:By April 2022 TRPPA and the Rubber Stakeholders Committee have been trained on Organizational Capacity Marketing and Lobby amp; Advocacy and are implementing these lessons learned. Other outcome envisioned are:Higher yields and better quality products for farmers and groups trained in record keeping value creation and organisation amp; governance (MyCoop). Individual (lead) farmers will be enabled to implement lessons learned and best practices to achieve better yields. This will result in higher incomes for trained farmers as a result of improved margins on rubber production. These interventions will support the technical trainings aimed at yield and quality improvement as planned by WWF.Better access to markets and finance as a result of the trainings in marketing and lobby amp; advocacy. This will strengthen the capacities of participants in order to achieve higher incomes for their products and will result in additional support for the rubber smallholders through government support and private sector investments.A more efficient transparant and more inclusive rubber value chain will be established in the project areas as a result of trainings on value creation and providing farmer groups with a better understanding of possible cost-cutting or value addition activities as a group. For example by establishing collective smokehouses or nurseries farmers can be increase their margins and attract new capital.

Other

Scoping amp; AssessmentAgriterra has developed a Scoping Tool and Cooperative Assessment Tool to collect analyse and monitor the needs of an individual farmers’ organisation. This management and organisations tool will be used to assess strenghts weaknesses opportunities and threats and addresses potential challenges and bottlenecks. The scoping tool is a quick scan of the current situation of a cooperative or an organisation where the Cooperative Assessment dives deeper into the current situation in terms of the financial situation member commitment and governance structures. At the same it offersan in-depth analysis of the current and future business case of the organisation in terms of value chain service delivery to members marketing and risks. The scoping and cooperative assessment provides important inputs for a common long-term goal and an action plan to be drafted together with the particular farmers’ organisation. The action plan results in trainings support and activities for the cooperative to implement with regular follow up visits by Agriterra’s Business Advisors.My COOP TrainingThis training is designed to strengthen the management of agricultural cooperatives so they can offer high quality efficient and effective services to their members. Participants will gain knowledge on how to cater to member needs business opportunities and social considerations. The direct beneficiaries of this training are lead farmers extension workers managers of agricultural cooperatives. Indirect beneficiaries of this training are employees and members of the farmer group and the local community. The training outcomes in termsof additionals advice and training needed will be integrated in the action plan between Agriterra and the farmers’ organisation.Value Creator ToolThis tool helps identifying challenges and opportunities in agro value chains defining interventions and solutions. It is made for cooperative management experts and farmers. The Value Creator equips cooperatives and farmers with the necessary skills to develop new business opportunities which leads to more income. The goal is to improve the position of cooperatives and farmers in the Value Chain. This tool is always customized and adapted to the local context ig. location commodity scale etc. For example based on the analysis carried out during the implementation of this activity value creation in the form of collective smokehouses or collective nurseries could be calculated and advised on for Myanmar Rubber Producer Groups. Follow up visits will be crucial to the success of this tool.FACT TrainingBy using the Farmers Advocacy Consultation Tool (FACT) Agriterra introduces a structure that is designed to ensure effective lobbying towards public institutions. FACT is essentially a way for farmers’ organisations and their constituencies to relate to each other. It ensures that any policy proposal that the organisation prepares takes root in the reality needs and concerns of members. While the success of any proposal is never guaranteed the FACT approach certainly increases the possibility of success towards governments.FACT II: As a more in-depth approach and strategy a FACT II Training could be asuccessful follow up for intervention in lobby and advocacy by coaching and local guidance. This training is more customized and tailor-made and addresses how to interact with governments international players and other stakeholders in Myanmar.Record-Keeping WorkshopAgriterra’s record-keeping workshop is part of its financial management training package designed to turn data into intelligence for business decisions on household and cooperative level. The record-keeping module aims to underline the importance of registering data as well as to develop a strategy for record-keeping and a tool for the actual implementation. Also record-keeping is key to higher yields lower production costs better quality access to finance acces to better seedlings (or other suitable inputs) and can be used to improve the performance and production of the farmer group as a whole. In order to realise a larger scale of farmers participants of the record-keeping Workshop will be trained to train other farmers in implementing record keeping practices at farm level.Marketing TrainingThis training program is designed to strengthen an organisation’s marketing strategy and build the skills and capacities of those individuals within the cooperative who implement this marketing strategy. Participants will be trained on providing content of a sound marketing plan complete with an action plan. This training will be tailor-made for the rubber producer groups and addresses the specific needs of smallholder farmers in Myanmar’s rubber sector. In the Marketing Training participants will be trained to train other member-farmers of the cooperative on how to implement marketing strategies at farm level.