Sowing Words and Seeds: From Farmer to Advocate

Win Myint is spreading the word about sprinklers.

Win Myint installs a new sprinkler system to water his onion plants.

Farmers in Myanmar’s Dry Zone often lack the technology to irrigate their land.

It was 2012 in Moe Kaung village, and onion-farmer Win Myint was in a bind. He was struggling to afford the steep cost of day laborers who irrigated his farm. His days were spent either working his two-acre onion farm or driving a trishaw to survive. He spent 12,000 kyats (almost 10 USD) per day to hire three laborers to water his plots.

After a long day in the field, he confided his troubles to a trishaw passenger, who mentioned he had seen people using a new drip irrigation system in a nearby village. Though he was skeptical, Win Myint was curious about this contraption. The next day, he rode his trishaw ten miles and found it.

“How much did you pay for it?” he asked the farmer. “42,000 kyats (31 USD).” It was a substantial amount of money — more than he had ever spent on farm equipment.

Aung Kyaw Kyaw Naing (sales rep) and Win Myint (farmer), hats off.

Driving home that day, he deliberated. For weeks, he consulted his Proximity sales representative Aung Kyaw Kyaw Naing. He had numerous late-night conversations with his wife. In the end, he decided to purchase the drip system. He trusted Aung Kyaw Kyaw Naing’s advice, and was grateful when he returned every few days to tinker with the system, making sure it was in optimal condition for his onion plants.

Within just three months, Win Myint saved 108,000 kyats (80 USD). He quit driving his trishaw and was able to reinvest time and money into his beloved farm.

His enthusiasm was contagious. He was an early adopter in his village, but as soon as his neighbors saw the drip system, they followed his lead. Win Myint often travels over ten miles to introduce farming families to this new technology.

When asked how many families he has referred, he began counting on his fingers. Five minutes later, he counted over 100 families. Win Myint admitted, one of the reasons is pride: “I love being the one who shares the latest technologies.” But mostly, he spreads his knowledge because he feels a duty to share his good fortune.

It’s no surprise that when Proximity released its new sprinkler system in September 2016, Win Myint was the first customer. He likes that the sprinkler is an upgrade from his older drip system. His favorite part is the consistent water flow. On the old system, he would prick holes with a nail for more water to come out, which made for uneven distribution.

“My farming is more precise and my soil is more balanced with the new sprinkler,” he said.

Win Myint making sure all of the lateral pipes are secure.

Win Myint has become an advocate for agriculture technology. In the future, he hopes more products will have this kind of tech upgrade. He likes to see and feel the progress.

Joking, he said that he dreams technology will reach the point where everything, start to finish, can be done remotely with the push of a button. Such technology does exist, and we hope it’ll be in Myanmar someday. In the meantime, we are bringing him closer to his dream by introducing precision technology that optimizes his farming efforts.

Win Myint mentioned that he saw other exciting technology on the market with laser-cut features, but he won’t go near them.

“Other products are in the market today and gone the next day,” he said. “I know Proximity will be here tomorrow.”

Since Win Myint is so passionate about helping other farmers reap the benefits of farm technology, he has since joined Proximity’s team as a village agent. Now, he earns a commission for each referral he sends to our sales team, and he’s the first to get updates about the latest technology.


Proximity Designs is an award-winning, farmer-focused social enterprise based in Yangon, Myanmar. http://proximitydesigns.org