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Tropical organic farming in Myanmar

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Many agricultural practices in Myanmar are inefficient and simultaneously even harmful to the environment. NEED Myanmar is training young farmers in sustainable organic farming and environmental conservation. As a volunteer or intern you can work on the educational farm of NEED and learn about tropical farming, you can teach related topics, you can assist the organisation in marketing, or you can do research for your disseration.

What is your placement organisation doing?

A large part of the population in Myanmar depends on agriculture for their livelihood. On NEED Myanmar’s organic farm young people can learn about sustainable agricultural techniques and ecologically sound cultivation in the countryside.
Due to the long-term economic isolation of the country, agricultural development has been restricted in Myanmar. Young farmers are often lacking in skills and knowledge about natural resource-saving ecologically sustainable agricultural production. Many of the agricultural practices that are used in Myanmar are outdated and inefficient; some are even harmful to the environment. Besides this, the agricultural production in Myanmar is often costly (e.g. fertilizer and equipment). As a result, part of the rural population lives in poverty.
The Network for Environment and Economic Development Myanmar (NEED Myanmar) has been established in 2006 with the aim of creating more awareness for sustainable agriculture and protection of the environment. At the agricultural school and the NEED eco-farm young people from all Myanmar receive training and education in the fields of ecological agriculture, environmental protection, permaculture, community development, resource management and they learn basic business, computers and English skills. The NEED eco-farm stretches 4 hectares and is located north of Hmawbi, about 2.5 hours from Yangon. The farm includes various fruit and vegetable patches (examples of crops that are grown there are basil, watercress, beans, bananas, lemongrass, garlic, onion, ginger, eggplant and chili), a mushroom grower and a rice mill. Rice is cultivated on a further 20 hectares. There are also some chickens, geese and pigs living at the farm. The entire farm is operated using solar energy.
Following their education, trainees will have to use and transfer their newly acquired knowledge on the benefits of ecologic agriculture to the rural communities. The education should encourage the locals to develop their own ecological farm projects, e.g. ecological cultivation of crops for the use of their own families in the countryside, the construction of a network for local farmers, or more inclusion of women in agriculture.

How can you get involved?

Ideally,  you will be able to commit for 3-6 months to contribute at NEED and you will have your own laptop with you.
Do you know how to work with social media channels and would you like to support NEED with their marketing?
Perfect! NEED is looking for volunteers who already have some experience in the areas of marketing and fundraising. You will support the farm and the eco school to translate reports to English, find sponsors at network events and through website updates.
Would you like to learn how tropical organic farming works?
Then this is the right place for you! As an intern at NEED you will learn firsthand what you have to know about tropical organic agriculture in Myanmar. You will accompany and support activities at the farm. Possible activities are e.g. the development of small-scale cultivation methods, organic weed-control, permaculture etc.
Do you already have experience in the field of agriculture, horticulture or permaculture?
You are very welcome to support NEED with your expertise as a volunteer and to contribute to the farm!
You are looking for a topic for your Bachelor's or Master's thesis and would like to assist NEED with scientific reasearch?
Then you are exactly right at NEED! Ideally, you have some basic previous experience in scientific research and data collection. You help NEED to create reports, collect data, and analyze their activities in the field of agricultural production.
Info Box
Location: Near Hmawbi, around 2.5 hours from Yangon, Myanmar
Availability: all year, flexible start
Minimum Duration: 1 month
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English
Accommodation: Farmstay
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification of Supervisor: Professionals in organic farming
Minimum Qualification Of Intern: none
Further Contribution To Project: None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Prior knowledge in one of the above-mentioned areas. You are expected to work independently.
Further Contribution To Project: None
Expectations: Professional attitude, Do you have the "right" attitude?

Participants' Reports


Accommodation on the farm in Hmwabi

Accommodation for volunteers and interns is directly on the farm in a small house of basic standard. You will share the common facilities (sanitary installations) with others. The accommodation rate is 200 USD/month/person. Meals (= Burmese cuisine, except industrially bottled beverages) are included in the price.

I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
   up to 60 Days
61-90 Days
91-180 Days
181 Days or longer
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1 Person
600 EUR 700 EUR 800 EUR 1200 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Rate per Person)
500 EUR 600 EUR 700 EUR 1000 EUR
Convert rates to USD, GBP, CAD, AUD and other currencies

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype; together with further participants
  • Arrangements of necessary documents for your visa application, but not the official government fees for them (See costs below)
  • Pick-up and Transfers from/to Rangun International Airport (RGN) on arrival and departure from/to Yangon
  • Personal support staff at your location and at our international office
  • Orientation and Introduction in Yangon
  • Accompanying you to your placement on your first day
  • 24 Hours emergency support by local support team
  • 50 USD Contribution to your project
  • Local SIM Card with 10.000 MMK air time
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • Costs for 10 seedlings of indigenous trees that we plant on the slopes of Kilimanjaro

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Accommodation and Meals (see below)
  • Travel to/from Myanmar (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Official fee for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Local Transport (Estimated amounts see below)
  • Please note that for supervised/mentored internships, some organizations charge further contributions. You find this information in the "Info Box" below the respective internship description.

II. Accommodation Costs

In Yangon:
Accommodation at Guesthouse, Hostel or Bed&Breakfast, incl. simple, local breakfast. You can choose between the following options:
Dorm Room bed (4-share to 12-share): 6-12 USD/Person/Night
Single Room: 20-30 USD/Night
Double/Twin Room (only available in case of 2 persons booking together): 10-15 USD/Person/Night
Farm-stay near Hmwabi:
200 USD/month/person on full board
At the Buddhist meditation centre Thabarwa:
No costs for dorm room accommodation including 2 simple meals per day!
Tourismus and Hotel internships:
With tour operators and hotels in Yangon that don't provide accommodation: See rates above ("Yangon"). Hotels in the rural area usually provide accommodation free of charge.

Overview of other costs:

  • Around 80-140 USD/Month for self-catering (lunch and dinner at affordable yet good restaurants)
  • Visa 70 USD per 70 days
  • Small local expenses (e.g. Internet, local transport): around 30-50 USD/Month (Estimate)
  • Insurances around 30-50 USD/Month


How do I pay?

Once all your questions have been answered and you confirm that you want to participate, we will email you an invoice. You can pay it via bank transfer, credit card or via Paypal. You will pay a deposit of 200 EUR / 250 USD when the invoice is issued. One months prior to your arrival you will pay the remainder for your Service Package.
The payment modalities for rent and possible further costs (e.g. internship supervision fees, as stated in info box of the respective project description) depend on your host country and placement. We will inform you beforehand. In many cases these costs are paid on site, but for some countries and placements they need to be paid partially or fully in advance.

Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more!

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, work and travel, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.

Getting to Yangon

Karte Myanmar
You will book your flight to Yangon Airport (also: Rangoon; RGN). Please remember to share your flight details with us so we can pick you up at the airport and bring you to your accommodation in Yangon.
Even if your workplace is not in Yangon, you will spend your first few days there to acclimatize (we will organize a good accommodation for you in Yangon). In Yangon you will participate in an introduction and orientation program by your local coordinator and get to know the other participants of our program. After that you will travel by bus or airplane to your actual workplace. Buses go from Yangon to almost all corners of the country and cost around 20 USD per route (e.g. to Mandalay, a ride of 10-12 hours), domestic flights are around 50-90 USD per route and only take around 1-2 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
No, you can arrive at any date and you can hence, plan your trip according to your availability and the prices of flights. We can pick you up from the airport even at night.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible and we will give you our best rates. Just let us know when you arrive and leave and we will let you know the costs.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
Of course you can travel around during your time in Myanmar and get to know this fascinating country. If you want to travel during your time of volunteering/internship, you should ask at your placement whether your absence is ok. Probably it is better if you plan some time to travel AFTER your volunteer/internship assignment.
Is it safe to travel to Myanmar alone as a single female traveller?
As most Buddhist countries, Myanmar is considered a safe travel destination for women. Approximately 80% of our participants are female and between 18-25 years old. Not a single instance of a serious security breach has occurred. Our coordinator will advise you on how you should conduct yourself in order to avoid problems - your dressing style, valuables, and in dealing with local men. Our preparation materials elaborate on this matter. If you follow these basic rules that apply equally to many other places, the risk in Myanmar is minimal.
Will I be the only volunteer/intern in the project or in Yangon?
The total number of participants that participate simultaneously with an organization depends on the size and activity of the organization and responsibilities of volunteers/interns. We try to avoid too many volunteers/interns in an organization at the same time. It may be that you are alone in your work site, but usually there are, throughout the year, other participants in Myanmar, who you can meet in your spare time, if you desire so.
What vaccinations do I need?
We recommend that you ask your physician or an Institute of Tropical Medicine for recommendations. Our preparation materials also include a chapter about vaccinations and health.
Where do I live?
In Myanmar and in Yangon we cooperate with several hostels, guest houses and Bed&Breakfasts, and we have a suitable option for any preferences and standard. You will share the accommodation with other travelers from around the world or other participants of our programs.
We also consider the distance to your volunteer/internship assignment.
In Yangon, accommodation is typically in the city centre, e.g. China Town or near Sule Pagoda.
As a non-resident, it is not legal in Myanmar to live in private accommodation or with host families.
Can I choose my accommodation?
You can tell your room preference (e.g. single, double, dorm room) and we will suggest you the available options.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
Yes, the hostels usually have Wifi internet. You can also access the internet with your smartphone. We will give you a local SIM card with some initial credit, which you can top up as needed. You can easily activate a data package (around 10 USD for 6 GB).
How can I do my laundry?
You can either do your laundry by hand, or ask for laundry service at your accommodation.
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Many restaurants in Myanmar at least have one vegetarian dish. At the supermarkets there are many vegetarian food ingredients.
What language skills do I need?
English language skills are widely spread in most parts of the country. Anyway, people are happy if you try at least to speak some words in their local language.

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