Reducing the detrimental effects of chemical fertilizer in Inle Lake is a major effort, but only by small scale efforts, and small recurring donations can be done. Global Community Service Foundation is committed to that goal. The use of vermiculture fertilizer on the land-based village gardens is showing great results in reducing the amount of chemical fertilizer used, and is greatly improving the quality and quantity of vegetables grown. That improvement is enhancing the health of the local population.
While there is significant improvement of ecological agriculture at the land-based gardens, the progress at the water-based gardens is slower.Our contacts at Inle Lake determined that the closer relationships at the land-based villages resulted in more leadership and more mutual cooperation.
That conclusion lead the project team to begin the process of contracting with a qualified Inle Lake native to conduct seminars on the benefits of vermiculture and the methods of use of the organic fertilizer. We have the funds to begin that process, but to implement the gardening technique at the 44 villages GCSF is currently working with on the 45 square mile lake will require continuous, recurring, support
GCSF President Selva said, “We can easily help one family, or one village, but the need is to ecologically improve the lake to improve the environment, save lives and improve family health for now, and for generations to come.” “Since we have been using vermiculture produced fertilizer the quality and quantity of vegetables are better. It does immediately show its power, as chemical fertilizer does, but given time the growth rate of the crops is higher and the quality of the vegetables are better” Thein Zaw - 27May 2014 “Inle Lake is like our parents. And when our mother and father get sick, we need to cure them,” said U Myo Myint, a lakeside dweller who has switched to vermiculture farming. “But we still have time to heal this place. We still have hope.”
In late September Global Community Service Foundation’s(GCSF) projectmanager in Myanmar (formerly Burma), spent two (2) weeks in Virginia at theGCSF Headquarters. She was here to attend the GCSF 20th anniversarycelebration, to meet some of our donors and to work with, review and update ourprojects in Inle Lake. The projects were reviewed by the U.S. staff, President ofthe organization and members of the Board of Directors.On the vermiculture program she confirmed that it was progressing slowly. Shedid confirm that a few of the families have had marked success using the wormcasing liquid to fertilize their gardens instead of using toxic chemical fertilizer. Thethe worm fertilizer is more economical than the chemicals, because the liquidworm fertilizer can be produced at home using food scraps to feed the worms;thereby creating nutritious plant growth enhancement.We have faced some impediments in our goal of spreading the production anduse of the vermiculure fertilizer to more families. Reasons include:1. Some of the producers of the casing liquid diluted the resulting fertilizerwith too much water and not enough casing. To correct the situation, wewill provide more instruction, and illustrate the difference in crop qualitywhen the proper ratio of water/casing is utilized.2. Some family’s attempts to create vermiculute fertilizer failed because theworms were not provided with a suitable habitat. Again, that shortcomingcan be remedied by more frequent instruction, and assistance, until thefamilies become more proficient with the care and feeding of the worms.3. Because the family homes are built directly of on the lake, communicationbetween families is sometimes limited by the distances between them;therefore the explanations of proper vermiculture techniques between thevillagers is sometimes not frequent or effective. Until now we have reliedon GCSF in-country representative and part-time volunteers to provide theinstruction and assistance which is necessary when such culture change,and agricultural change, is implemented. Based on available funding, weplan to hire a designated employ as the educator/facilitator/coordinatorand quality control monitor to introduce the correct vermicultute technique to additional families on the lake and to assist those who need more help with the process and procedures. We believe we now have theresources to accomplish this.We believe that a full-time vermiculture advocate will help with many of thesituations listed above.We believe, and the earlier results have shown, that the program can have animmediate and progressive effect on the food production, nutritional qualityof food and will improve the quality of the water in the lake – to the villagesthe lake is their world, to preserve it is to enhance the quality of life forgenerations to come.Speaking for the villagers, who have been successful with the technique, andfor the generations to come who will benefit from the cleaner water andbetter crops, we thank our donors. We hope our donors will take pride in thefact that the lake and people of Inle will be healthy and the lakeenvironmentally improved. We hope that you can point to Inle Lake andproudly say, “I helped save a lake and improve the life of those who cling to theonly resource they have!”
The following report (unedited) was prepared by the Global Community Service Foundation Project Manager, Dung Chu, after her recent trip to Inle Lake to analyze and plan our charitable projects in that area;
We visit a worm project family. Kyu Kyu Win, 26, who was trained and provided 300 worm. She now has about 10,000 worms. She now can make 5 gallons of fertilizer liquid every 2 months’ worth 10,000ks (About $10) She started with 300 worm and doubled the quantity every month. She said this is a good project because she doesn’t need to spend much time on. Every morning, she just need to spray water, give some food such as left over, banana peel… and just change the soil every three months (spend a day).
People who buy the liquid are people who have garden in Kaylar village, where they have garden. An important thing is that the entire garden those close to each other should use the same fertilizer. The good thing is the price for worm liquid is lower than the chemical fertilizer.
We also visit Ban Pyin, the village on land that is very successful with this project.
Thein Zaw, 24, started worm breeding in July, 2011, with 350 worms. The needed materials are dry leaves such as mango leave sand trunk of banana plant At first, he makes trunk of banana as small pieces puts the mix on the dry leaves, add water and cover with the cloth. After 25 days, it needs water. After one month, it is ready to use in the garden. He uses the worm liquid in his garden (tomato, garlic) He is more successful than using chemical fertilizer before. He states “By using the worm liquid, the quality and quantity of vegetables are better. The growth rate of the plants is also better and no side effects.”
He now can sell the worm liquid to other families. Most of families in the village do worm breeding themselves. This year he is more successful because the amount of worm is much bigger than the last year.
I talked to Hnin Hnin about our village; she thinks that the people in Naung Taw Lae Chay need to have better knowledge on community, on management. She agrees with the ideas of having a project mobilizer, going out to help the villagers once every week for at least 6 months. She agrees to provide one of her staff for this work. The cost is 10,000ks/day. I think the villagers who are still doing worm breeding need to form a committee to work together, commit on right quality of worm breeding, then work with the villagers who have the floating garden in other village, to come to an agreement on providing enough good quality worm liquid for their garden for all to use at the same time. If this is successful, then we will think about bigger production and packaging.
Hnin Hnin also have other training such as how to conduct a meeting, financial management, anti-corruption, team work, micro finance. I requested to her to support us in training Nway Nway. She is happy to offer. Kathy will follow up with the class schedule and send Nway Nway to have training.
Also, when we have the mobilizer, we should send Nway Nway with the mobilizer, so Nway Nway can learn. Nway Nway also agrees to breed worm after learning how to do it, so she will have the hands on experience and hopefully become a mobilizer after 6 month.
Environmentally Friendly Farming Initiative improves Health at Inle Lake, Myanmar
Reducing the detrimental effects of chemical fertilizer in Inle Lake is a major effort, but by small scale efforts, and small recurring donations it can be done. Global Community Service Foundation is committed to that goal.
GCSF Project Manager, Dung Chu reviewed the progress of our environmentally friendly farming initiative, and other projects, at Inle Lake in late May and early June.
She provided the following report of the effort and results;
GCSF President Selva said, “We can easily help one family, or one village, but the need is to ecologically improve the lake to improve the environment, save lives and improve family health for now, and for generations to come.”
“Since we have been using vermiculture produced fertilizer the quality and quantity of vegetable s are better. It does immediately show its power, as chemical fertilizer does, but given time the growth rate of the crops is higher and the quality of the vegetables are better” Thein Zaw - 27May 2014
“Inle Lake is like our parents. And when our mother and father get sick, we need to cure them,” said U Myo Myint, a lakeside dweller who has switched to organic farming. “But we still have time to heal this place. We still have hope.”
Worms at Work for an Eco-friendly Inle Lake
Based on information received from the Global Community Service representative, and a recent visit by the President of GCSF, it is now estimated that the worm casting (vermiculture) methods of agriculture can be introduced to five villages per year. The vermiculture program includes initial training, preparation of work breeding vats, breeding of sufficient worms (300 per family), application of the resulting fertilizer, and monitoring of crop results.
The GCSF representative at Inle Lake, Daw Hnin Hinin Ohn, estimates that we should be prepared to fund about $4,346 (1,220,000 Ks) per year per village. One of the good things about this project is that the entire amount required to fund the project need not be raised before the benefits of the vermiculture program is realized. Additionally, as the success of the program is realized by the Inle Lake farmers the rate of implementation might be increased.
U Aye Naung, Chief of Naungtaw Laichay village is very pleased with the results of the vermiculture program in his village and is a major participant and supporter of the program. During the recent visit to the lake by Selva, he took her to his home to see the project in action. He explained that the worms exude a liquid that when mixed with water can be used as fertilizer. The worms are kept in a large bucket and the water they exude comes out from a spigot. One liter of liquid is mixed with one liter of water to use as fertilizer. Twenty-eight liters can be used to fertilize one acre. Fertilization must be done three times during the growing of crops. He was so proud to announce to Selva “I have been able to educate two of my children with the profit from this project.” He told her that he makes double the average income from the crops that have been fertilized with worms. He told her that the crops grow to twice their size with this fertilizer.
Reducing the amount of chemical pollution at Inle Lake will reduce the incidence of "Soft bone Disease" it the children of Inle Lake,
It our next report we will attempt to add a map of the Inle Lake area and a list of the villages around the lake – then we, and our donors, will be able to track our progress around the lake
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