Vision Zero Fund

Myanmar’s Shan State Department of Agriculture to roll out Occupational Safety and Health trainings in seven townships

Twenty-five field officers from Myanmar Shan State’s Department of Agriculture were trained on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)-related topics common among ginger farmers, with the support of the ILO’s Vision Zero Fund (VZF). Shan’s Chief Minister U Linn Htut met the ILO VZF team and provided guidance and support to the efforts on enhancing OSH among farmers in Shan as a way to access more and better markets for their produce.

Article | 11 September 2018
U Sai Long Kyaw, Minister of Agriculture of Shan State, Myanmar - © ILO
YANGON (ILO NEWS) – The Vision Zero Fund (VZF) has developed customised training material on OSH relevant for ginger farmers in Shan State. Trainings have already started through Winrock International’s local field assistants among their supported farmers’ groups with positive results. Roll-out will start through the Department of Agriculture’s (DoA) 25 extensions staff in targeted townships (Kalaw, Pindaya, Pinlaung, Pinlon, Hopone, Nyangshwe and Lawksawk) to expand coverage and help strengthen government structures that promote safety and health practices in agriculture.

The Minister of Agriculture of Shan State, U Sai Long Kyaw, opened the session on 13 September 2018, urging the audience to promote productivity, safety and health in Shan State’s agricultural sector through activities such as this OSH training. The training included practical approaches for improving safety, health and working conditions in agriculture (WIND) that reinforce the DoA’s approach, as well as the relationship between OSH and good agricultural practices (GAP). The ILO WIND methodology was customised to address hazards identified during the VZF’s assessments in 2017, covering topics like basic OSH concepts and awareness, materials storage and handling, safe use and handling of tools and inputs, and work environment and welfare facilities. These are then related to critical control points of the GAP certification.

Shan farmers attending the ILO Vision Zero Training on OSH - © ILO
The OSH training is currently being rolled-out in collaboration with Winrock International whose local field assistants have tested, modified and implemented three training modules among Winrock’s target farmer groups. Although implementation is still underway, adoption of better practices are already in place, such as better safety tool measures.

Shan’s Chief Minister U Linn Htut and ILO Liaison Officer in Myanmar, Mr Rory Mungoven - © ILO
Shan’s Chief Minister U Linn Htut, in a discussion with the ILO’s Liaison Officer, Mr Rory Mungoven, and the VZF team on 4 September 2018, highlighted the importance of OSH trainings delivered by projects such as this one, as it can enhance the export potential and increase productivity of agricultural products including ginger. Meeting quality and safety and health standards in destination markets was an area the Chief Minister identified as fundamental to promote growth in export of ginger, one of Shan’s main agricultural products. The ILO Liaison Officer added that lessons from the ginger market can be adopted in other agricultural export commodities.

Monitoring tools and training materials will be developed in October and November 2018 before the roll-out to farmers, expected in November and December, and after harvesting season in 2019.