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By: Patrick Trail

Agricultural Staff Member at ECHO Asia

Whether passing through, or invited into the home, it would take a visitor to any number of Myanmar’s Karen communities only a few minutes to realize the importance of agriculture. Small home gardens are common to nearly all households, and may be second only in occurrence to the pig that can be found being raised underneath so many homes. Like many other countries in Southeast Asia, land in Myanmar is as hard to come by as the protein that needs to be produced on it, making hog production a viable and popular source of animal protein.

Being omnivores and efficient consumers of household waste, pigs are well suited for integration into smallholder farming systems where space and resources are limiting factors. But even one or two pigs can become costly to feed and will require, in many cases, expensive purchases of additional off farm feed sources.

For this reason, we seek to provide appropriate options for using on farm resources, encouraging farmers to use what they have, to make what they need. At our most recent Myanmar Seed Saving Workshop, our team was delighted to learn that one of our attendees, a former participant of our first Myanmar training event in 2013, had learned there to make fermented banana stalk silage for hog feed, and has for the last 4 years been promoting its use!

Now a Program Manager for World Vision Myanmar, our friend is working to spread this technology to communities within his reach. One of his ongoing projects, which began with 4 participants, encourages the production of fermented banana stalk silage to supplement any purchased feeds needed for raising hogs. Through their own trial and error (and the creation of their own appropriate silage chopper), he and his partners have found that they can reduce the need for purchased feeds by up to 75% by supplementing with their own farm generated feeds, thus improving production margins tremendously. The program now has 120 participants and is expanding to additional communities!

For more information on the production of fermented banana stalk silage and other farm generated hog feeds, please contact our office, and we will be happy to provide you with additional information. For any successes of your own that you wish to share, please leave a comment!