Stories of Change

Ko Ye Naing with one of his chickens.

Local chickens mean a hopeful future in Myanmar

Farmer Ko Ye Naing is always looking for opportunities to improve his family’s livelihood. The 38-year-old father of two and his wife, Ma Nandar Win, live on a three-acre farm 55 miles west of Yangon, Myanmar. They grow about 700 pounds of chili peppers, which they sell for about $500 yearly. He also works as a broker: he buys chili peppers and corn from 20 other family farms and sells them to wholesalers in Yangon, Mandalay, and Kayin. He earns about $1,700 profit each year for his family through this work. 

Ko Ye Naing first got to know CWS when he volunteered on a committee in his village. The group focused on emergency preparedness and risk mitigation activities coordinated by CWS. He and his wife also participate in CWS nutrition programs for caregivers of young children, since they have a 4-year-old son named Mg Htet Naing Lin.

When the opportunity to raise local chickens came along, Ko Ye Naing and Ma Nandar Win were excited to be selected for the program.

“In the area where I live, local species of chicken are very hard to find and cost about $7 each. However, I prefer this species because they are easy to raise at home. They are strong and resilient, and the meat is healthy and nutritious,” Ko Ye Naing explained. “ I had planned to breed local chickens as a business at home, but I didn’t know where to buy young hens and roosters. Although commercial breeds are abundant, they are not good to eat because of chemicals in the feed and antibiotics used,” he continued.

Through the CWS program, which was made possible through the Light the World campaign of the Latter-day Saints Charities, Ko Ye Naing and his family are raising free-range local chickens. They told our team how grateful they are to have this opportunity. They told us how neighbors have dropped by to see the chickens, which they described as “beautiful.” The two hens and rooster each weighed about 2.2 pounds when the family received them. All have doubled in weight after nearly two months on a diet of broken rice, corn and foraged bugs. Ma Youn Lai Naing, the family’s seventh grade daughter, is responsible for feeding the chickens.

Soon, the hens will start producing eggs for the first time, and the family will have a regular source for a variety of egg-based dishes.

“As I have wanted to breed local chickens at my house for a long time, I’ve already decided to expand the flock. In fact, I bought four more hens. My goal is to sell local chickens to interested buyers. And, I will fence my yard as recommended for a larger flock. I thank CWS and the Church of Latter-day Saints for helping our family start this new business,” Ko Ye Naing said.