Contributed by Dr Sivapragasam Annamalai, CABI
Paulus Verschuren, a CABI Board member, recently visited Myanmar, accompanied by CABI staff, associates and representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. His motivation for the trip was “to get out and learn in the field what Plantwise means to farmers and other stakeholders”. The brief but busy itinerary entailed field visits to see plant clinics in action and also to meet with some of the key donors currently operating in Myanmar.
Mr Verschuren’s field visits were to plant clinics in Nay Pyi Taw, the administrative capital of Myanmar and Nyangy Lay Bin near Yangon. He took the opportunity to meet and discuss with plant doctors, listened to their views and shared his experiences with them. He also relayed some of his concerns with plant clinics and ways to overcome them. In Nay Pyi Taw, Mr Verschuren met with Dr Tin Htut, Permanent Secretary, Department of Agricultural Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and CABI’s Liaison Officer for Myanmar. Although it was a brief meeting, it was a significant one as several aspects underpinning CABI’s role in the country were discussed. There was also a brief courtesy greeting of Prof Dr Myo Kywe, the Rector of Yezin Agricultural University, who showed keen interest in working with CABI on university curriculum development for plant health. Back in Yangon, Paulus met with the European Commission Delegation in Myanmar represented by Claudia Antonelli, the Chair of the LIFT Fund Board, who explained about the EC programme implementation, including collaboration through LIFT.
Although the visit was brief, it was very illuminating and constructive for all sides. Mr Verschuren shared his thoughts and views on the Plantwise program and CABI’s strategy of engagement in Myanmar. He stressed that CABI should focus on facilitating the expansion of plant clinics and getting higher buy-in from farmers. Reviewing his trip, he was grateful for the opportunity to be “hands-on and be part of CABI’s undertakings when implementing project in the country – and to be able to understand the ground realities.” As a representative of the CABI Board, Mr Verschuren was satisfied with how CABI and Plantwise are supporting Myanmar in its current efforts in transforming the plant health system.
For more information about Plantwise in Myanmar, visit the Plantwise website.