Overview Objectives

This project aims to improve the livelihoods of small-scale livestock producers in Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone by enhancing management, nutrition and health of small ruminants, indigenous cattle and village chickens.
The Central Dry Zone is an important livestock production area with a high density of cattle, sheep and goats. It is also one of the poorest regions in Myanmar. The 10 million people who live there depend mostly on dry-land agriculture.
Most farms are smaller than 2 hectares, and there are many landless people whose livelihood depends on supplying farm labour. Rainfall is low and highly variable, and there is a high risk of crop failure. Farming systems are diversified and livestock is important for food, cash income and livelihood security. Most households, including the landless, keep poultry. Landless people and smallholder farmers raise small ruminants, and most farmers raise cattle.
This project researches the health and production of poultry, cattle, sheep and goats in two villages and more broadly in Myanmar, to improve household incomes and livelihoods. This research provides valuable information that describes the current production systems. It includes trials of practices to improve animal health and husbandry with farmers, and helps to improve growth, survival and productivity of animals.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

ACIAR project AH/2011/054 held a project inception meeting in Yezin in August 2013. At this meeting, teams within the project were established to take responsibility for cattle, small ruminants, village poultry and forage research. Work plans were developed for each for the following year. A name was chosen for the project - “Dahat Pan,” which is a flower native to the central dry zone of Burma.
Three village sites were selected for Dahat Pan research activities. Township data on households, land and livestock ownership was used in a cluster analysis to identify 3 villages as project sites: Kyauk Aoe in Meikhtila township (cattle, small ruminants and village poultry); and Ya Thar (cattle and small ruminants only) and Hpet Yin (village poultry only) in Myingyan township. These sites will be used for monitoring animal health and production, testing interventions, and conducting capacity building. Informal local steering committees have been established for each of these sites. Stakeholders include the Township Supporting Committee (TSC), the Township Administration, the Myanmar Livestock Federation and any other local interest groups.
A project research officer, Dr Jenny Hanks, has been employed and is based in Burma. Having Dr Hanks based in Burma has been crucial to progress within the project to date. Dr Hanks manages the project, supervises research activities, liaises with local project leaders, advocates for the project, interacts with the Burmese bureaucracy, organises visits by Australian project staff, builds relationships with other NGOs in Burma, and mentors local project staff.
Two junior scientists have been employed by the project, and are based in Ya Thar and Kyaut Aoe. So far, these researchers are responsible for collecting data on animal production and health. Their roles will be expanded later as village poultry and forage interventions are added.
Monitoring of animal health and production commenced in February 2014. A total of 157 cattle and 223 sheep and goats have been enrolled at Kyauk Aoe. At Ya Tha, 194 cattle and 185 goats have been enrolled. Animal health and body condition score is being monitored monthly, and livestock are weighed every second month. A questionnaire for village chicken production has been pilot tested, and material has been prepared for the village chicken intervention study (production of creep feeders and bamboo coops, selection of chick starter to be used).
The Dahat Pan project uses a participatory research approach (PRA) to explore management of livestock and to identify constrains to livestock health and production. An initial survey of each site reported data on household, land-holding and livestock ownership distribution at the village sites. Village meetings have been held in order to build relationships with village farmers, and gain an understanding of what production and health problems farmers experience. These meetings have included as many people as possible from the village sites. At the meetings, farmers created a map of their village, a seasonal calendar of agricultural activities in their village and listed the problems they experience in livestock production. A report of PRA assessments will be forwarded to ACIAR by 30 June. Farmer interest groups have been established for cattle and small ruminants (village chickens to follow) at each village.
Project staff at LBVD, UVS, the project junior scientists, township office veterinary staff and community animal health workers have received training in data collection and management, body condition scoring, animal handling, forage evaluation research and Microsoft Excel. Scientists from Indonesia and Thailand have visited to conduct some of this training.
The project’s first John Allwright Fellow, Tu Tu Zaw Win will commence study for a PhD in the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland in June 2014.

ACIAR project AH/2011/054, also known as Dahat Pan, started operations in August 2013. The project is a collaboration between the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) and the University of Veterinary Science (UVS) in Myanmar and the University of Queensland (UQ) and University of Melbourne (UoM) in Australia. Three village sites were selected for Dahat Pan research activities within the Central Dry Zone (CDZ), Kyauk Aoe village in Meikhtila township (cattle, small ruminants and village poultry); Ya Thar village (cattle and small ruminants only) and Hpet Yin village (village poultry only) in Myingyan township. These sites have been used for monitoring animal health and production, testing interventions, and conducting capacity building.

There have been some significant findings from the research in 2015-16:
With chickens, coop design and feeding, as well as Newcastle disease vaccination have improved survival. The Myanmar Livestock Federation has been involved in semi-commercial coop and feed production and distribution.
With forages, a number of grasses and tree legumes have been identified as the best options for farmers to use. Grass yields are earlier after the first rain and last longer than traditional forage sorghum. Some farmers are growing forage grass to distribute. A seed production capacity is being undertaken at UVS and semi-commercially.
With small ruminants, supplementary feeding and better pen design and husbandry has improved survival and growth of kids. Strategic drenching for worms associated with records of faecal egg counts have also improved the situation.
With cattle, supplementary feeding markedly improved the growth of calves. Body condition score of cows was low and so was reproductive rate which would be improved by weaning and better feeding. These are now being trialled.

The interventions trialled have been based on the findings of low production and reproduction where young animals are at greatest risk of health problems and dying. These baseline data provide an important reference point for evaluating current and future livestock work in the CDZ.

Capacity is being developed through postgraduate training and short-term training. The UVS Master’s project scholarships provides recipients with personal skills and experience and contributes to the overall knowledge of forage, ruminant and village chicken production potential in Myanmar. Research projects have been completed by one Masters student in 2015 and eight Masters students in 2016. A further eight Masters commenced projects in 2016. Four Master students presented their results at international conferences in 2015 and one student received an international award. Nan Kham Hlaing won a project scholarship to undertake a Master’s degree at UVS and was the first to graduate from this program in 2015. Nan has is now employed as a demonstrator by the university with management responsibility for the village-based forage field research program.

There are 2 PhD students; one researching livestock market chains in the CDZ and one researching the feeding of forages to ruminants. Tu Tu Zaw Win, who has a John Allwright Fellowship (JAF) to study at the University of Queensland has completed her PhD confirmation. Dezin Soe Lwin has received a JAF scholarship to commence her study at the University of Queensland and is expected to commence her study this coming year. Professor Aung Aung received a John Dillon Fellowship to visit Australia and undertake leadership training which he has applied to the project and his department at UVS.

The Regional Livestock Alliance organised in collaboration with the Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) has engaged LBVD and UVS in broader outreach with other main players in the livestock field in the CDZ. Workshops and field visits have continued to bring together non-government organisations, funding bodies, universities and departments this year.

ACIAR project AH/2011/054, also known as Dahat Pan, is now in the final year of activities. The project is a collaboration between the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) and the University of Veterinary Science (UVS) in Myanmar and the University of Queensland (UQ) and University of Melbourne (UoM) in Australia. Three village sites were used for Dahat Pan research activities within the Central Dry Zone (CDZ), Kyauk Aoe village in Meikhtila township (cattle, small ruminants and village chicken); Ya Thar village (cattle and small ruminants only) and Phet Yin village (village chicken only) in Myingyan township. These sites have been used for monitoring animal health and production, testing interventions, and conducting capacity building.

Key research findings:
Newcastle disease vaccinations, protecting chicks from predation using bamboo coops and providing supplementary feed to chicks in creep feeders was tested by 174 farmers, and resulted in reducing mortality rates from 47% without he interventions to 14% during and after the interventions. Farmers were able to sell additional birds surviving and would increase their estimated annual income by 70,500 Kyat over a three year period.
A semi-intensive village chicken production site has been set-up in one project village.
Three grasses and tree legumes have been identified as the best options for farmers to use. Grass yields are earlier after the first rain and last longer than traditional forage such as sorghum. Fourteen (14) farmers are growing 15100 m2 of forage grasses and 75 farmers planted >1000 tree legume seedlings in the 2 villages.
Young goats and sheep often suffer from ‘illthrift’-poor growth and health caused by a combination of poor nutrition and disease.
All farmers (44) owning goats and sheep in the two villages have provided supplementary feed, improving survival and growth of young goats and sheep.
Strategic drenching of sheep and goats for worms improved their productivity.
Sixty two (62) farmers have evaluated supplementary feeding which improved the growth of young cattle, some of whom additionally experimented with weaning calves.
The interventions trialled have been based on the findings of low production and reproduction where young animals are at greatest risk of health problems and dying. These baseline data provide an important reference point for evaluating current and future livestock work in the CDZ.

Extension of project research:
Extension material for small-holder village chicken, small ruminant, cattle and forage production has been supplied to the FAO Central Dry Zone Livelihoods Program, which is working with 170,000 livestock-owning households across 6 townships in the CDZ.
Training courses were provided to CESVI (Italian NGO) staff on castration and creep feeding in small ruminants. This has resulted in scale out to 12 Shae Tot/CESVI villages and 641 farmers.
Training in village chicken production has been provided to more than 800 villagers across 50 villages of the CDZ. Chick starter feed and coops are being produced in collaboration with Myanmar Livestock Federation (MLF) and sold to village chicken farmers across the two study townships. An extension training package for training of village chicken farmers comprising of flyers, poster and audio-visual materials has been developed and can be used by other extension agencies or NGOs.
Three small scale commercial farmers at various stages of production and village farmers are growing forage grasses for distribution.
A Regional Livestock Alliance is using workshops and field visits to share information between 10 non-government organisations, funding bodies, and government organisations working in the livestock sector in the CDZ.

Capacity is being developed through both formal postgraduate study and short-term training:
There are three PhD students; two have received JAF scholarships to study at the University of Queensland, and one is based at UVS.
Eight masters students enrolled at UVS who commenced research with the project in 2016 have completed their field experiments. A further seven UVS masters students commenced research with the project in 2017.
In addition to Master’s student enrolled at UVS, another student completed her studies from the University of Sydney, and another is studying at Yezin Agricultural University.
Staff of UVS, YAU, LBVD, the village based junior scientists tasked with managing the field research program and the community animal health workers (CAHWS) now have skills in village chicken, ruminant and forage production.
An example of training contributing to these skills was the training of two researchers and students from YAU and UVS staff/ students in seed production. These two researchers now work with forage farmers and in experiments to provide advice to farmers on how to increase seed production.

Project ID
AH/2011/054
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
University of Queensland, Australia
Project Leader
Professor Dennis Poppi
Email
d.poppi@uq.edu.au
Phone
07 5460 1238 or
Fax
07 5460 1444
Collaborating Institutions
University of Melbourne, Australia
Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, Myanmar
University of Veterinary Science, Myanmar
Project Budget
$2,035,005.00
Start Date
27/06/2013
Finish Date
26/06/2017
Extension Start Date
27/06/2017
Extension Finish Date
24/12/2017
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Mike Nunn