In Karen State around half of Internally Displaced Person (IDP)* children are estimated to be chronically malnourished, with almost ten percent suffering acute malnutrition (TBBC** report ‘Internal Displacement in Eastern Burma’ 2007). This is due to many factors including land confiscation, crop destruction, crop failure due to pest infestation and unpredictable weather patterns and a need to increase nutritional awareness.
KESAN’s response is to increase food security through supporting farmer based initiatives that aim to strengthen local livelihoods by maintaining indigenous agricultural knowledge and organic farming techniques. Project activities include community irrigation systems for farming, household livestock husbandry, organic gardens and training, food security awareness workshop, seeds saving networks and distribution and exchange, development of terrace paddy farming, wild tea production, plant nursery, animal husbandry and food preservation. KESAN provide trainings such as food security awareness workshop, organic garden trainings. KESAN also provide manual guideline books for community to use it in their farming and agriculture.
Using sustainable agricultural techniques, traditional knowledge and the use of organic inputs, resulted in an increase in soil fertility which translate into an increase in quality and yield of farm produce, ensured the availability and accessibility of seeds for the next cropping season and enhanced the communities’ resiliency and capacity to cope with natural disasters and/or forced relocation and replacement due to military hostility, produce safe and healthy food for communities, increase the diversity and quantity of food, and increase overall food security for community. These activities help the community to become more resilient to extreme climate variability and pest infestation. At the same time, the food security initiatives minimize the practice of unsustainable method in agriculture such as mono-culture, the use of chemical fertilizer, pesticide, herbicide, which are the cause of decreasing in biodiversity.