Ko Phyo is a 29-year old married man, living in Bagan Taung village, Thanlyin, Yangon Region, and an active member of AFFM.
In 2015, Ko Phyo had an opportunity to attend the two-week farmer empowerment training conducted by AFFM where he learned natural resources management, organic agriculture, compost-making and mushroom-growing.
“I don’t have any training or resources that I can use in developing my farming for more income. From the training, I learned a lot of farming skills, mushroom-growing, compost-making, and soil maintenance,” Ko Phyo said. “The training also gave me the idea on how we can manage the natural resources around us.”
Straw mushroom has a good market. Currently, Ko Phyo sells 1kg of straw mushroom for 3000 Kyats. He is now making 160000 MMK from each of the six mushroom beds he has.
“I can make appropriate income from mushroom growing more than the amount I will get if I work at a factory. I also have more time to do other work. I don’t need to spend all of my time on mushroom-growing alone,” he said. “I have six mushroom beds. I hope to make around 900000 MMK from this,” Ko Phyo added.
In a few months, he plans to grow more mushroom beds. He has already built two small mushroom houses and has started collecting materials. He plans to grow two different kinds of mushrooms.
Around Ko Phyo’s small farm are some materials that can be used for mushroom-growing and compost making. Before the training, local resources such as straw, water hyacinth, dried leaves, grass and all the other farm residues are only rubbish for him. He usually just burned all of these.
After the training, Ko Phyo learned new ideas on how he can manage local resources to achieve zero waste farming. He realized that the residue from mushroom-growing is the best fertilizer for the vegetables.
Ko Phyo has also started a family garden in his small compound. “From growing mushroom, I get enough income for my family’s daily expenses. I am going to start my family garden in which I will be growing different kinds of organic vegetables. Growing our own food make us healthy and makes the environment healthy as well. On the other hand, I can save money because I will no longer need to buy any vegetable from the market. I can even sell extra vegetables to the local people in affordable price,” he said.