Myanmar farmers gain knowledge on laser leveling operation and its benefits

IRRI postharvest engineer Yan Lin Aung being interviewed by
Myanmar local channel, DVB TV, during the demonstration.

Leveling rice fields reduces the amount of water used for land preparation and irrigation, improves the application of agronomic inputs such as fertilizers and herbicides, and increases grain yield and quality. According to research in Cambodia, land leveling has increased yield by 24% per hectare.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) funded project, Closing the Rice Yield Gap with Reduced Environmental Footprint project (CORIGAP), conducted a basic operator’s training and demonstration of laser-assisted land leveling technology in Letpadan, Bago Region Myanmar. More than 80 farmers were given first hand experience in using laser land leveling technology.

According to Carlito Balingbing, one of IRRI’s postharvest and mechanization engineers, “laser-assisted land leveling is a precision technology in agriculture that ensures efficient and accurate leveling of farmers’ fields. It enables uniform distribution of irrigation water and agronomic inputs, which in turn provides better yields and higher income to farmers”.

One of the activity’s highlights is setting up the laser technology system on a tractor. To fully demonstrate, participants needed a proper-sized tractor that has the optimum horsepower to move the scraper bucket around the field. Village leader U Naing Tun volunteered his equipment for the demonstration.

Farmers and DOA staff watched the laser-assisted
land leveling at work in Letpadan.

Engr. Balingbing, together with Engr. Yan Lin Aung, also gave an orientation on basic tractor operation and laser leveling equipment troubleshooting. During the session, the engineers explained about the cost of setting up the system and instructed the attendees on when it would be best to do field leveling. The knowledge shared with the stakeholders will help them maintain full use of the technology and sustain it for optimal field leveling.

Trainees have expressed their appreciation for this initiative. U Kyaw Min, Senator of Letpandan, said “farming technologies (in Myanmar) are already outdated compared to other countries. It is important that we take advantage of this technology that is tested by researchers, so that work in the field will become easier and faster for farmers. Through this, we can develop our agricultural industry and export our crops to other countries”.

Daw Tin Mya Lwin, Assistant Director of Myanmar’s Department of Agriculture, was also pleased with the demonstration. He recognized IRRI’s contribution to Myanmar’s agriculture sector through CORIGAP. “It has distributed best management practices (BMP) technologies in the village since 2016 such as mechanical transplanting machine, integrated pest management and rodent management”. He added, “laser leveling has many benefits to farmers, and this is one of the new technologies in agriculture that we are happy to learn from IRRI”.

Recognizing the importance of this training and its benefits to Myanmar’s agriculture sector, DVB, a local TV station, covered and aired the event on the news. You may view the news clip  here.

The activity was held last 12-13 December 2017, and was facilitated by Engrs. Yan Lin Aung and Carlito Balingbing, together with IRRI researcher Hlwan Oo.

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