We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD representative for Myanmar: Aung Tun Oo
Aung is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in agriculture from Yezin Agricultural University (YAU). After graduation, he conducted agricultural research at YAU in search of innovative solutions in agriculture to help farmers and to develop the agricultural sector in Myanmar. In 2010,he participated in the AgroStudies Agriculture Capacity Training program in Israel where he learnt about agricultural development policies and strategies of Israel. He came back to Myanmar in 2011 and shared the experiences through a brief report to the Ministry of Agriculture.
In 2012, he received an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship to study for a Master program at Ghent University in Belgium. He chose the joint International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD) because an agriculture-based country like Myanmar inevitably needs many rural developers and policy makers to boost rural development and in 2014, he obtained his MSc degree in rural development.
During his studies in Belgium, he was appointed as a country representative of Myanmar Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) for three years until 2016. He has been involved in EMA promotional events, and shared the scholarship information to the perspective students in Myanmar as well as provided guidelines to the new candidates and the scholarship students among other tasks. Over the years, he has carried out many studies with development organizations in Myanmar and done several field research and surveys in Dry Zone and Delta Areas of Myanmar. Some of his works is published on a few academic journals and research papers.
Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in agriculture and climate change at Ghent University in Belgium with funding from WWF-EFN (World Wildlife Fund_ Russell E. Train Fellowship) with his research focus being on “Food security in the light of climate change: Agricultural’ adaptation strategies in Dry Zone and Delta Areas of Myanmar”. Concurrently, he is working as a research associate at the Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD), an independent and non-political think tank supporting evidence-based policy mobilizing development resources in Myanmar.
He feels privileged that he had the choice to study agricultural sciences and specialize on rural development subjects. His motivation is mainly to help farmers and rural people who are the most affected with low yield returns due to a changing climate and a lack of technologies, as well as for the rural people who are struggling to get enough food and income for their families. As such, he would like to assist them to get out of poverty and ensure food security, sustainable agricultural development and secure livelihood conditions in his country. He plans to do so by voluntary extension services as well as sharing his research experiences, outcomes and knowledge with farmers, youths and other committed organizations in Myanmar.
He has this to say on the account of joining YPARD;
“My commitment to the YPARD cause is based on my personal experiences on the field. When I work in rural areas for research or extension, I see many youths upset with farming and agriculture. Then they migrate to urban settings or even abroad looking for a job. When I get the chance to talk to them, I ask them why they are not interested anymore in their farming family business. and i always get a homogenous reply ; that they want modernized agriculture, and that agriculture is not a life-learning subject nor a tale of science. My response is always that agriculture is the main occupation which will help feed the world’s population. I remind them that they should be grateful that their parents have a job for them at the farm and that they can help their families and their country to grow.I encourage them to think about agriculture and agribusiness development as a way to bring prosperity, wellbeing and peace in our country and to be proud that they can contribute to it! “
And so, what is his greatest wish for YPARD Myanmar?
“My wish is to create a Myanmar Agricultural Youth Network (collective action) through YPARD and to move forward as a group for strategic development of agriculture and rural areas in Myanmar. I will keep on working for the development of the agricultural sector in Myanmar with my passion and motivation.”
As the YPARD Myanmar’s national representative, Aung says he will encourage the youth’s voice to be heard, and to have influence on policy makers and rural development planners. He wishes to become a lecturer and researcher at a university to share his experience, and to be a part of the agricultural development in Myanmar contributing to the benefit our society at large. Wellbeing of both physical and mental properties are part of our lifelong happiness and as a young agriculturist, he says he finds happiness and success from sharing his knowledge to help farmers and future farmers for indeed sharing is caring.
We couldn't agree more!
We can’t wait to hear more from the Youth-in-Agriculture in Myanmar as we trust that YPARD Myanmar will be successful in mobilizing the youth through Aung’s leadership.