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Al Jazeera | Myanmar's Smart Farmers
How low-cost solutions are keeping farmers in Myanmar one step ahead of climate change.
Director: Hugh Hartford
Producer: Hugh Hartford
May 2015

Practically isolated from the global market for 50 years, Myanmar is still largely dependent on agriculture. But the country is one of the most at risk from climate change and no one feels these pressures more than the rural smallholder farmers who make up the backbone of its food system and rural economy.


Shorter monsoons and rising temperatures mean severe droughts have become more frequent in recent decades. This has led to higher levels of saltwater intrusion in important rice growing territories and an increase in the risk of complete crop failure.

Proximity Designs is a social enterprise which was founded to provide farmers with low-cost, low-tech equipment to help them adapt and thrive in their changing environment.


They ensure their products are both affordable and suitable by employing a team of data-gatherers to conduct thorough research within the farming communities. And thanks to a network of some 900 scooter-driving "field agents", their products can even find their way to the most remote parts of the country.


Russell Beard travels to Myanmar to meet the innovators behind Proximity Designs and to see how their products and expertise are helping farmers stay one step ahead in a changing world.

About 'earthrise'

'earthrise' is an award-winning series exploring solutions to the environmental challenges we face today.


The programme takes an upbeat look at ecological, scientific, technological and design projects all around the world, from a group of Dutch architects who design stunning buildings made from waste materials, to an ingenious project that has dramatically cut rhino poaching on a South African game reserve.


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Producer / Director