Taungya System workshop in Chin, Myanmar

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In Chuncung village, Northern Chin, many shifting cultivation plots have been converted to terraced fields for rice. 
Photo: Sanjeev Bhuchar/ICIMOD

Taungya, or shifting cultivation system, is a major food and income production system for the majority of farmers in Chin State of Myanmar. A peer learning workshop, Good Practices in Taungya system, was organised in Hakha, capital of Chin, 16-17 June, 2016 by Chokhlei Organisation for Rural and Agriculture Development (CORAD), Group of Research and Exchange of Technologies (GRET) and ICIMOD. The workshop was part of ICIMOD’s AdaptHimal programme funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Twenty six representatives from local communities, government and non-government organisations participated. The participants exchanged know-how on managing transformations in Taungya system in Chin through group work and plenary sessions. They shared the challenges and opportunities for increasing food production and income. Issues related to declining soil fertility and crop production, land tenure and constraints in converting to permanent production systems like terraced fields and orchards were also discussed. Officials from the Forest Department and Land Record Department shed light on community forest programmes and orchard registration processes, respectively. 

Farmers’ group work presentations on Taungya system 
Photo: Sanjeev Bhuchar/ICIMOD

A case study on situational analysis of transformation in shifting cultivation from Chuncung village was presented and it highlighted the degree of transformation in shifting cultivation, constraints and opportunities regarding transformations, and capacity building needs and potential interventions points. Participatory tools and methods used for situation analyses were also presented. 

Betty Ram Nawn shared good practices promoted by North Eastern Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP) for transforming the lives of the poor and marginalised tribal families in the North Eastern Region of India. Sustainable agriculture practices supported by GRET, CORAD and CARD (Community Association for Rural Development) in Chin state, on issues such as organic fertilisers, slash and mulch, charcoal acid for soil fertilisation and pest control, reforestation, farmer field schools and gender equality, were also shared and discussed. 

Participants also learnt about CORAD’s new project on Agricultural Diversification and Economic Integration in Northern Chin State funded by Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) covering about 130 villages of 5 townships in Chin. The project will demonstrate agro-ecological techniques on shifting fields as well. 

On-farm demonstrations of good soil, water and crop management practices for Taungya system, programme support for good practices in Taungya systems, economic evaluation of different production systems in Northern Chin and continuation of peer learning on good practices in Taungya system were some of the suggestions from the participants.