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DATA ANALYSIS OVERVIEW OF THE FRUIT SECTOR IN MYANMAR

 

 Su Myat Yadanar

Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association

29, MinYe Kyaw Swa Road , 5th Floor, UMFCCI Tower,

Lanmadaw Township, Yangon Myanmar

E-mail: misumyatyadanar@gmail.com

 

ABSTRACT

In Myanmar, most of tropical fruit are well cultivated in different areas and topography. This is why many kinds of fruit are available all-year round The Myanmar Horticulture industry is still in its infancy stage but the domestic producers are able to meet all local demands and they already have the capacity to export.

Mangoes, watermelons, musk melons and plums are the top items for exports to cross the borders of China and are also shipped to Singapore.

Local varieties of plums (Jujube) are vigorous and bear fruit in large quantities with low quality which are consumed as snacks and juice for domestic consumption.

Avocado trees which are grown are all seedlings while the true-to-type plants are not available. There are no budded and grafted plants used for vegetative propagation. Therefore avocado varieties could not be classified into typical characteristics. The local people of Myanmar grow fruit and vegetables naturally in their own home gardens for domestic consumption. There are few commercial plantations in Shan State. The Horticulture Section of the Department of Agriculture directed and promoted the GAPs program, setting up the standards of fruit quality.   

Meanwhile, the IP section, of the Ministry of Science and Technology carried out the IP activities including brand names and geographical indication on fruit in collaboration with the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association.

The most important aspect for the industry is the need to streamline all the processes from product selection to reach end users all over Myanmar and also those which are intended for exports. Infrastructures and investments are still needed for local producers to become world-class entrepreneurs who are knowledgeable in all the steps required to compete in the world market.

 

Keywords: Myanmar, tropical fruit, GAPs, fruit industry

INTRODUCTION

Myanmar is located in the eastern part of the Asian continent, in a geographical area rich in natural and mineral resources, which provides significant potential for economic growth. The country  borders with Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR and Thailand and is member-state of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).  It is formally known as Burma. The term “Burma” and the term “Myanmar” covers all the nationalities in the country.

Myanmar, known as the golden land in the olden days for its fertile land and rich natural resources is the largest country in the South East Asia Peninsula sharing borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. It is located between 09 degree 32 minutes north

and 28 degrees 31 minutes north and longitudes 92 degrees 10 minutes east and 101 degrees 11 minutes east. Its neighbors are India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand.

With a total land area of 676,577 sq km, it is about the size of Texas and the size of United Kingdom and France combined. The Country stretches over 2,090 km from north to south and over 925 km east to West. It has a 2,832 km long coastline on the Indian Ocean. Over 50% of the country’s total land area is covered with forests.

Myanmar, known as “The Golden Land”, is famous for its glittering pagodas, vast tracts of timber forests and huge mineral resources. It is also known for the warm hospitality of its people. The old capital city and the gateway to Myanmar is Yangon. One can find many famous historical pagodas such as Shwedagon, museums, parks and many places of recreation. The new capital city is Nay Pyi Taw which is near Pyinmana in Mandalay Division.

Generally, Myanmar has three seasons. They are monsoon or rainy season, the cool dry season and the hot season. The country enjoys a tropical monsoon climate. However, climatic conditions differ widely from place to place due to the country’s different topographical situations. For instance, central Myanmar has an annual rainfall of less than 40 inches while the Rakhine coast gets about 200 inches. Temperature in towns varies according to their location and elevation. In some years, severe storms occur causing damage in coastal regions. In order to bring about the favorable climatic conditions, the State has given priority to the Nine Districts Region Foliation Project.

 Most of tropical fruit are well cultivated in different areas and topographies. This is why many kinds of fruit are available all-year round. These include papaya, bananas, coconuts, guavas, limes, lemons, grapes, watermelons , musk melons , jack fruit and pineapple. Summer season fruit are durian, mangosteen , rambutan , marian and mango.  Apples, oranges, pears are the seasonal fruit of winter.


Fig. 1.  Myanmar, map with fruits cultivated area for fruit.

Source: MFFVPEA, fruit calendar 2012

 

Objectives

The general objective of the study is to present an overview of the fruit production and R&D system in Myanmar. The specific objectives of this study are as follows: (1) identify selected fruit production and marketing in Myanmar; (2) discuss the fruit R&D system in Myanmar; and (3) address the policies on fruit in Myanmar. 

METHODOLOGY

Data sources

The fruit sector data and information were collected from the respective government and private organizations in Myanmar.

They are the Horticulture Section, Department of Agriculture( DOA) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Horticulture Division, Department of  Agriculture Research (DAR), Vegetable and Fruit Research and Development Center, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (VFRDC), Department of Horticulture , Yezin Agriculture University  (YAU).In the private sector, under the umbrella of UMFCCI ( Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry ), there are many trade associations. Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association ( MFFVPEA) is the source of information for fruit sector in Myanmar. MFFVPEA, training team always keeps in touch with fruit growers in training with updated information.

Data collection

This study is carried out based mainly on a survey referring to existing literature, with  most   information coming from  Government organizations, private enterprises/ groups and aid organizations. For this purpose, information has basically been connected in Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon. In local/ rural areas, field study on the orchard owners was supported by  MFFVPEA.

This study intends to collect pertinent information for the  top eight fruit in Myanmar. They were chosen based on their production and important roles in the current situation of the fruit sectors. The top eight fruit comprise of the following: (1) mango; (2) water melon; (3) jujube; (4) pomelo; (5) avocado; (6) guava; (7) banana; and (8) papaya. In addition,from the top eight fruit, the top four fruit were further selected These are: (1) mango; (2) watermelon; (3) jujube; and (4) pomelo. Table 1 shows the type selected fruit in Myanmar. 

 

Table 1. Type of selected fruit for survey study in Myanmar

Source:    MFFVPEA(2009)and FFTC (2014)

 

Production and marketing

Estimated annual consumption of fresh fruit

The major fruit consumed in Myanmar are banana, mango, watermelon, papaya, jujube, avocado, pomelo, and guava. Fruit consumption plays an important role in improving the diets of people. WHO estimates that low fruit and vegetable intake contributes to approximately 16 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs, a measure of the potential life lost through premature mortality and the years of productive life lost through disability), and that 1.7 million deaths worldwide are attributable to low fruit and vegetable consumption. WHO and FAO recommend a minimum of 400 g of fruit and vegetables per day – excluding starchy root crops – for the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, and for the prevention and alleviation of several micronutrient deficiencies, especially in less developed countries ( 2013 FAO, Stat., Year Book).

 

Table 2. Fruit consumption in Myanmar (Thousand tons)

Source : MFFVPEA , Survey on training 2013

 

This data survey collected people’s preferences and eating nature and calculated them based on total population(51.419 millions).There is practically no one in Myanmar who does not like mango. Its total annual consumption was calculated based on the eating habits of the Myanmar people. Every person Myanmar eats mango during the mango season after eating the main meal. During off-mango season, bananas are eaten after lunch and dinner. For mangoes, different stages of young fruit are useful for processing into pickles mango, preserved, fermented and served fresh with Ngapi (a special fish paste, considered to be Myanmar’s main food).Therefore, compared with other tropical fruit. Mango consumption is the highest in Myanmar.

Mango can be cultivated in many areas in Myanmar except the Chin State and Northern parts like the ice mountainous region of Kachin State. Average consumption is 320,000 tons per year.

Due to the processed fruit industry, the eating style of people increased and there are now new value-added products like mango puree, mango juice, mango candies and mango leather. These value-added products also led to increase in consumption.

The second prioritized fruit is banana which, according to traditional belief, is used for cultural purposes in both its green and ripened fruit. The green banana market is very huge in Myanmar. It is used as offering to Buddha and is considered as guardian spirit. Banana is available all-year round in Myanmar, and is included in people’s daily diet. Fried banana and banana cake are also popular snack foods. Average consumption is estimated at 80 million tons per year.

Fig. 2 . Coconut and banana preparation as offering to Buddha and spirits

Source : MFFVPEA , Taken at Pagoda , Myanmar

 

Watermelon, jujube, avocado and guava are eaten depending on people’s preferences. Not everyone like all kinds of fruit. Watermelon export is higher compared to its local consumption.  FAO’s estimates Myanmar ranks low for the global average of 69.09 kilograms per capita. According to the figures in Table 1, annual per capita consumption of fruit is 11 kg. By adding some extra minor consumed fruit, the capita consumption may be 15 kg/capita/year which would be still far below the FAO/WHO recommended level of 75 kg. Therefore, those who are carrying out Myanmar’s health care system tried to increase the per capita consumption of fruit to improve the population's health. MOAI's policy paid attention to the residual effect on fresh produce by implementing IPM to fruit growers.

Fig. 3.  Comparison of Myanmar, selected ASEAN countries, and global fruit consumption, and FAO recommendations 2008-2012 (kg/capital/year)

Source : FAOSTAT , 2013

 

Total area of fruit production in Myanmar from 2008-2013  (Hectares)

Fig. 4.  Myanmar map mentioned 7 states and 7 regions

                           

Myanmar has total land area of  676578 square kilometers and the total land for agriculture is 8,969 hectares (nearly 9 million hectare). The current net sown area constitutes about only 13% of Myanmar’s total land area.

 

Table 3.  Land utilization status of net sown area by state and region

Source: Information on Myanmar agriculture

 

Fig. 5. Sown area in Myanmar

Source: MOAI 

http://www.moai.gov.mm/images/download/agri/11.CropProduction.pdf

 

According to the data, Myanmar paid attention to agronomic crops rather than horticultural crops including fruit orchard.

 

Table  4.  Fruit production of ASEAN countries

 

Fig. 6. Fruit production of ASEAN Countries

Source: FAOSTAT 2012

           

According to the FAOSTAT figure, Myanmar ranks third place in fruit production among ASEAN countries.

 

Table 5.Total fruit production in Myanmar (thousand tons)

 

Total fruit production is setting up the local consumption, export and postharvest losses. The country lacks cold storage facilities and has non-systematic mode of transportation, so postharvest losses are high.

Fruit productivity (unit land yield) from 2008-2013

 

Table 6.  Fruit productivity in ASEAN countries  for fruit, freshness  ( Hg/Ha)

Source: FAOSTAT [ ] = Official data | Fc = Calculated data ty in

 

Fig. 7. Fruit Productivity in ASEAN Countries

Source: FAOSTAT 2012

 

Due to the FAOSTAT figure, Myanmar’s productivity (yield- Hg/ha= Hectogram / Hecta) shows 39583 Hg/Ha. It means 3.9 tons per hectare. The fruit types vary on different sizes.

The yield were mentioned in tons per hectare.

 

Table 7. Average Yield of Eight Fruit

Source: Department of Horticulture, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation

 

The data on yield were calculated in hectares by the Department of Agriculture, Horticulture Section. Avocado fruit trees were planted as fencing around plantation of vegetables and orchards. Growers own 10-50 trees used as shading for coffee plantation.

Number of fruit growers from 2008-2013 and proportion of smallholder fruit growers (1-5 hectares) from 2008-2013.

 

Table 8.  Rural population and farm families -size of farm holdings (2012-2013)


Source: http://moai.gov.mm/zg/images/download/agri/10.Ruralpopulation&Farmfamilies.pdf

 

Majority of fruit growers joined the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetables Producers and Exporters Association. To date, MFFVPEA has 20,000 members.  Myanmar’s population is about 51.419 million according to the 2014 data of the recent census.  Seventy percent of the total population are living in rural areas and are highly dependent on agriculture. Commercial fruit growers are less than one million. Due to the changing policy on foreign investments, prices of land in Myanmar are getting higher. Normal farmers cannot own the big land and rich people own the orchards. Therefore, perennial fruit tree growers are only very few.  Seasonal fruit tree growers grow trees such as watermelon and strawberries.

Proportion of processing from 2008-2013

Agriculture is one of the building stones of Myanmar. There are no standards for GAPs in place, neither on farm food safety Quality Assurance plans nor any postharvest handling training available to farmers. MOAI and private organizations like MFFVPEA had supported the development of a national certification system for Horticultural product exports, mainly fruit. Private sector involvement is increasing, with research/demonstration farms being established in various regions in the country, often in partnership with government. There is no cold chain system in the country for fruit and vegetables but the government has established a demonstration cold storage. Pesticide use is quite low as all pesticides must be imported and are quite expensive and regulated. Myanmar is of particular interest in the region as its geography enables production of both tropical and temperate horticultural crops. Myanmar has excellent training facilities and a dedicated government agricultural sector. There are also good testing laboratories but they lack appropriate levels of trained staff to implement testing requirements for issuing certificates.

Fig. 8. Proportion of fresh and processed fruit

Source: MFFVPEA, Survey

 

Fig. 9. Mango leather making as home industry

Source: MFFVPEA, Manalay 2014

 

Fig. 10. Mango leather shop in mango region (Mandalay)

Source: MFFVPEA, Survey, 2014

 

Volume, value and origins of imported fruit from 2008-2013

Fruit did not play an important role in Myanmar’s agriculture.  Due to the OEC data list of major leading exports, imports and complexity of economic indicator, below is the following statistics of Myanmar.

 

Table 9.  Trade commodities in Myanmar

 

Main importer of fruit to Myanmar are China and Thailand. Fruit is one kind of cash crop for farmers in China and plays an important role in generating income for peasants. China has been the top producer of fruit in the world since the1990s.

Fruit production in China comprised 15.2% of the world total production in 2003; apple and pear accounted for 35.5% and 53.1%, respectively. Citrus growing acreage and production has recently been increasing.

Majority of fruit are imported apple, pear-apple, small honey orange, grapes, and dragon fruit from China and Thailand. Due to the data of Trade Promotion Department, Ministry of Commerce, 20,000-500,000 metric tons per year were imported from China.

Fig. 11. The fruit – apples imported from China

Source: MFFVPEA, Commodity Center, 2014

 

  

Fig. 12.  The fruit – apples imported from China

Source:  MFFVPEA, Commodity Center , 2014

       

Fig. 13.   The fruit – grapes imported from Thailand

Source:  MFFVPEA, Commodity Center, 2014

 

Fig. 14. Baby oranges imported from China

Source:  MFFVPEA, Commodity Center, 2014

 

Area planted for top eight fruit from 2008-2013

 

Table 10. Area planted for eight fruit

Source: MFFVPEA

 

Fig. 15. Cultivated area for fruit

Source: MFFVPEA, 2013

 

Due to the increasing demand in China, the number of watermelon growers increased in Myanmar. Watermelon is the most exportable fresh produce in the fruit sector in this country. Mango is the second priority for export and favorite fruit for local consumption.

Watermelon can be cultivated in any part of Myanmar except for Kachin State and Chin State. Myanmar’s location is the most suitable for growing watermelon.

Pomelo are well grown in the lower part of Myanmar which have wet and heavy rainfall area such as Mon State, Pegu and Yangon region. Nowadays, rubber became hot item due to its high price in the same region of pomelo. Rubber plantation had occupied pomelo orchards. Plum (Jujube) ranks 3rd or 4th position for fruit export to China. Main plantations are located in tropical and central Myanmar.

In Myanmar, avocado is not grown for commercial purposes. They are used as fencing trees in home gardening and plantations. Banana is not popular for export because of its perishable nature. The fruit is used for home industry and food processing. In fact, banana based value-added products are well developed in Myanmar.

Harvesting months of top eight fruit from 2008-2013

In Myanmar, fruit can be harvested practically all-year round. Among the top eight fruit, three fruit (watermelon, banana, guava) are harvested whole-year round, while the rest are only harvested during certain months.

 

Table 11. Harvesting months

 

Farmgate values of top eight fruit from 2008-2013

 

Fig. 16. Farmgate price of fruit

Source: MFFVPEA, Commodity Center, Muse

 

The farmgate values vary depending on the opinions of fruit brokers who visited the orchards and estimated the price depending on their plant growth and potential yield for fruit trees. First they bought fruit during their vegetative growth, when the price is lower.

The orchard owner no longer needs any cultural practices done after paying the brokers. In Myanmar, fruit brokers can have more benefits compared to growers.

Fig. 17.  Myanmar Fruits in Singapore supermarket

Source: Myanmar GP

 

The mango price in Singapore (1Kg= 6.90 S$, I Ton= 6900 S$) can be seen in photo of supermarket. Myanmar Golden Produce company collected the best quality of mangoes and exported them to Singapore and Malaysia. Golden Produce company has one packaging house in Mandalay. It has sorting machine and hot water treatment facility.

Proportion and destination of fresh fruit export of top eight fruit from 2008-2013

 

Table 12.  Data of fresh fruit export to China cross border trade

 

Fig. 18. The bar graph for two highest export fruit

Source: MFFVPEA

 

Major forms and sources of planting materials of the top eight fruit

Planting materials grown in the farm are recommended according to the rules and regulations of ASEAN GAP standard which the Department of Agriculture, MOAI recently started to implement.

If planting material is produced on the farm, a record is kept for any chemical treatment used as well as its purpose.

If planting material is obtained from another farm or nursery, a record is kept of the name of the supplier and the date of supply.

 

Table 13. Major source of planting materials

 

Fig. 19. The best Myanmar mango (Sein Ta Lone)

Fig. 19. The best Myanmar mango (Sein Ta Lone)

 

Fig. 20. Guava flower seen at guava orchard

Source: MFFVPEA

 

Mango local variety, namely Sein Ta Lone, was fortunately found in Han Myint Mo Village in Mandalay Region since 1990s. After finding the variety, Sein Talone grafted plants became more and more popular compared to other local varieties.

Seintalone is considered the best due to its characteristics like sweetness, specific flavor, aroma, pungency, pulp firmness, reduced fiber and reduced acidity.

Normally, the growers used Yin Gwe varieties as stock and grafted with the scion of Sein Ta Lone Mango. Yin Gwe is resistant and easily adaptable in different parts of Myanmar. The yield is three times more than Sein Ta Lonem. Sein Ta Lone planting materials trading business are more profitable in fruit production because of the new mango orchards.

Pomelo and guava farmers employ air layering in their small tree branches. The growers generally do this at the beginning of the rainy season. One month later, rooting completed air layering. Cutting and potting were done under full shade which reduced the leaf area from the plants for 45 days. After that, the plants were moved again to partial shade for their vegetative development.

There are no grafting practices done in avocadoes. Majority of avocado growers cultivated the fruit from seeds. The seedlings may be estimated as Guatemalan and Mexican hybrid because they are well-grown in the hilly region of southern Shan State.

National fruit research and development system

Major government agencies responsible for the fruit sector development

There are many research farms and central research centers under the umbrella of the Ministry of the Agriculture and Irrigation, Department of Agriculture, Horticulture Division. They are paying much attention to horticultured crops, particularly the development of the fruit sector.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and Biotechnology Division is transferring the technology with demonstration plots after selection of good quality varieties of fruit in laboratories and field.

That section has 32 union budget farms, two union budget training centers, five union budget laboratories, two union budget education zones, four union budget model farms, 22 Divisional budget farms for demonstration.

The total farm area 12404.797 acres and 4277.80 acres were cultivated to horticultured crops including fruit acres (3426.62).

Under the Department of Agriculture, VFRDC (Vegetable and Fruit Research and Development Center) is producing the seedlings for mango, dragon fruit, guava, pomelo, orange and banana.

The horticulture and biotechnology division are conducting the following training programs to fruit growers:

  1. Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) Training;
  2. Postharvest technology training;
  3. Mango leather training;
  4. Organic farming training;
  5. GAPs inspector training;
  6. Horticulture crop development training;
  7. Good quality pomelo production training;
  8. Mango growing technique training;
  9. Fruits propagation techniques training; and
  10. Pesticide handling training

VFRDC, on the other hand, is doing research work on the following:

  • Investigation of bagging effect on mango fruit quality;
  • Various fertilizers (N, P, K , KNO3   and Paclobutazol) effect on flowering in mangoes (Sein Ta Lone) and mango off-season production experiment;
  • Effect of hot water treatment in controlling fungal disease on mango and papaya; and
  • Evaluation of ethereal dipping effect on banana fruit quality

DOA has been carrying out the model farm in Nay Pyi Taw namely Set Set Yo where it is located near Set Set Yo dam , Ko Ywar Tha Pyay  Kone Village , Ottarathiri Township. It has 900 acres and is currently growing fruit and vegetables on pilot farm of about 50 acres.

 Department of Agriculture Research

 Horticulture Section

The horticulture section was established in 1977 at Yezin Central Agriculture Research Institute and has been recognized as one of the sections of the Industrial and Horticulture Crop Division, under the Department of Agriculture Research, in 27th January, 2004.

Research activities on fruits crops (mango, pomelo, and dragon fruit) are being undertaken with the following objectives:

  • To develop high yielding quality vegetable fruit; and
  • To develop cultural practices for the achievement of high yield with better economic returns

DAR is carrying out the research activities of fruit in conserving mango diversity.  To date, 75 mango varieties’ germplasm were conserved. Development of production practices are done to achieve high yield in quality mangoes and dragon fruit. The practices include studying fertilizer rate, stock and scion relationship, off season production and postharvest technology.

Policy direction or promotion programs on the fruit sector

MOAI policies for the agriculture sector are mentioned at MOAI official website:

  1. To emphasize production and utilization of high yielding and good quality seeds;
  2. To conduct training and education activities for farmers and extension staff to provide   advanced agricultural techniques;
  3. To implement research and development activities for sustainable agricultural development;
  4. To encourage transformation from conventional to mechanized agriculture, production of  crops appropriated with climate and extension of irrigated area; and
  5. To amend existing agricultural laws and regulations in line with current situation

The fruit sector will be improved in a sustainable way with qualified seeds, good education, research implementation  and amendment of agricultural laws and regulations in line with current situation. Global tropical fruit output reached approximately 82,700,000 tons in 2008 according to the FAO. Mango is one of the most widely grown fruit, followed by pineapple, guava, and avocado. The horticulture Section, Department of Agriculture directed and promoted the GAPs program, and setting up the standards of fruit quality. The IP section, Ministry of Science and Technology carried out the IP activities including brand name and geographical indication on fruit in collaboration with the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association.

Major government agencies responsible for fruit export

Ministry of Commerce , Trade promotion Department

Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation

Department of Agriculture

Plant Protection Division

PP Division is working out to maintain the health problem of consumers and users, and environmental pollution by using chemicals for the sake of plant protection and setting up the rules of international plant protection standards for export of fruit.

Under the PP Division, there is a plant quarantine section which has already issued the 338,152 phytosanitary certificates to export all kinds of crops issued by the Head Office of PP Division. The plant quarantine stations from border area issued 24,717 phytosanitary certificates for export.

For the issuance of import certificates, the head office issued 1851 certificates and 14,433 in stations from border areas.

Plant quarantine law was enacted on 16 June 1993. Its purpose is to promote crop production and produce food crops in a steady situation free from pest damages.

According to the purpose and description of the law, duties under here are the main responsibility of the plant quarantine;

  • Issuance of phytosanitary certificate for exported plant and plant products including wood packaging materials
  • Issuance of import certificate for importation of plant and plant products (Eg. seeds, scions, bulbs, tubers, and cut flowers etc.)

Documentations of the commodities to be exported which are described in P.C, key factors to allow the trade, are needed to meet requirements (e.g.) pest information, disinfection method, kinds of chemicals used for pest prevention and dosage, etc.) of importing country and in line with international standards.

Importation of plant and plant products are needed to safeguard the country from hazardous pests so traders had to go through importation procedures.

Major fruit-related R&D institutes and universities and their capacities (e.g., personnel, facilities, investment, etc.)

Yezin Agriculture University, Horticulture Department

Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Horticulture Section, Nay Pyi Daw

Ministry of Agriculture , Department of Agriculture Research, Horticulture Section, Yezin

R&D focuses and principal investigators in the respective institutes and/or universities on the top four fruit of the country

Fig. 21. Yezin Agricultural University, Nay Pyi Taw

Source: YAU Yezin Agriculture University

 

The Yezin Agricultural University (YAU ) is the only university with a higher level of education in Agriculture in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Primary functions of YAU are teaching and training, conducting research and providing extension services to the public. Specific objectives of the University are to produce highly qualified professionals needed for the development of the agriculture sector of the country who are well-equipped in leadership, management, planning and analysis and interpretation skills and to provide adequate technical training on modern methods of agriculture for the farming communities including non-degree training programs.

YAU has seven academic departments which are taking major responsibilities for teaching.

  1. Department of Agronomy
  2. Department of Agricultural Botany
  3. Department of Agricultural Chemistry
  4. Department of Entomology and Zoology
  5. Department of Plant Pathology
  6. Department of Horticulture
  7. Department of Agricultural Economics

The Department of Horticulture is conducting research activities for the fruit sector. It is a unique department the legacy of which provides horticultural and related skills to the students.

The department is equipped with laboratory facilities for plant tissue culture in preparation for plant biotechnology development in YAU in collaboration with Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The Department aims to provide production technology in horticultural crops with high nutritive and economic value. Major functions are growing crops, seed production, plant propagation, nursery management and production and micro propagation of horticultural crops.

For fruit sector development, research activities on mango, muskmelon, banana, papaya, orange, strawberry, dragon fruit, grape and pineapple are being conducted as postgraduate research.

Department of Agriculture

Table 14. Satellite farms doing fruit research in different places in Myanmar

Source: http://www.moai.gov.mm/index.php/researchs/researchfarms

 

International cooperation projects on the top four fruit (e.g., funding source, collaborating institutes, principal investigators, etc.)

Yezin Agriculture University

YAU has already done MOU with the following international organizations and universities:

  1. King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi ( KMUTT), Bangkok, Thailand;
  2. SEAMEO Regional Center for Higher Education and SEAMEO Regional Center for Graduate study and Research in Agriculture ( SEAMEO-SEARCA), Philippines;
  3. Center for South East Asian Studies, Graduate School of Asia and African Studies ( CSEAS), Kyoto University, Japan;
  4. Center for Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Forestry ( CeTSAF)-Georg-August- Goettingen University, Germany;
  5. Academic and Research Collaboration with University of Kassel, Kassel- Witzenhausen, Germany;
  6. Charles Sturt University (CSU) , Australia;
  7. Project Sharing Resources in Higher Agricultural Education ( SHARE) with the Kasetsart University ( KU) Thailand;
  8. International Rice Research Institute (IRRI);
  9. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, ( ICRISAT), India;
  10. Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), Tokyo, Japan;
  11. Co-operation with International Potato Center (CIP), Peru;
  12. Co-operation with Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA), Korea;
  13. Northwest A& F University, China; and
  14. Mokpo National University, Republic of Korea

Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable and Producer and Exporters Association is conducting the value chain project on mango and tea leaf with GIZ.

IPM on Mango project was implemented by MFFVPEA, mango grower group with the support of FAO.

One village one product (Geographical Indication) branding strategy was supported by Korea Intellectual Property Organization for Mango Han Myint Mo village in Mandalay region.

MFVPEA (Myanmar Fruit and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association)

MFFVPEA is the semi governmental organization from the private sector collaborating with the Ministry of Commerce to take care of horticulture crop production and trading. UMFCCI (Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry) is the most powerful private sector organization. Under the umbrella of UMFCCI, 39 trade associations are set up to conduct their respected activities.

MFVP VISION states that “Until 2019, the position of Myanmar fresh produce is enhanced in existing and new markets in line with consumer requirements and growers needs, based on the principles of environmental sustainability” MFVP carries out a number of measures and services to members, in particular: 

  • To facilitate agricultural extensions services and develop capacities for members in a wide ranges of topics;
  • To facilitate standard adherence and compliance with export/import  Requirements; and
  • To link suppliers to markets 

Value of MFFVPEA are:

1. Green economy,fair trade,sustainable/low carbon agriculture; and

2. Transparency and good governance

 

Fig. 22. Farmer market created by MFFVPEA

 

The key objectives of this association are:

  • Support member producers to become leading farms and to show others to use same or similar methods so that a modern horticulture industry will be developed;
  • Coordinate with various government bodies to establish education, training and standard farm practices;
  • Promote producers through trade fairs to help market development;
  • Arrange overseas tours and visits of members;
  • Invite overseas guest and experts to help members;
  • Cooperate with FAO so that the standards can be aligned to regional and world standards;
  • Form collective market bodies for each sector – e.g. mango, flowers, and melons and later for other fresh produce; and
  • Help establish information system for prices, trends, and other useful market information.

As a member of UMFCCI, it has the formal endorsement of the Government of Myanmar so it will slowly evolve to become a professional and commercial industry.

SWOT analysis of Myanmar fruit sector

  1. Myanmar has the best geographical location bridging South Asia, ASEAN and China to become a major player to supply as well as transit products for the whole region – the total population that can be reached through Myanmar is nearly half the world’s population – 3 billion.
  2. As Myanmar is now preparing to implement new postharvest technology, it can adopt and implement the best practices and become modernized in a short time. As Myanmar does not have any old systems, the investments made can be recovered quickly.
  3. Myanmar has possibly the best weather and land area to produce products that can be from large volume low margin food to high quality and high-value products.
  4. Myanmar will be able to take advantage of the new regional rail network linking Bay of Bengal through to Yunnan in China and later to link most of the ASEAN region.
  5. Therefore these strengths will allow investors and operators in the supply chain with huge potential, as Myanmar is the last market to open up. Therefore postharvest technologies will play important role in the future.
  6. Presently, Myanmar needs to develop systems, practices, mechanization, storage facilities,  processes and certification to make these standards for all.
  7. Access to capital is currently limiting the opportunities in Myanmar. This is for transport, storage, processing, cool stores and all kinds of support services.
  8. The MFFVPEA is now leading the industry to request the Government of Myanmar to implement new rules and regulations to ensure that all farmers, producers and exporters are operating under the laws so that all buyers and consumers are protected.

Opportunities of Myanmar fruit market opportunities

The opportunities in Myanmar are huge as it needs a complete SCM and the expertise will need partners and operators from around the region. The geographical location of Myanmar is ideal and gives the best opportunity.

 The new infrastructure now being developed – rail networks, road transport and expansion of air services plus all the supporting services for a modern SCM is open to any company or investors.

An integrated SCM system is needed and this will allow all farmers, producers and exporters the success and good returns for their efforts.

The domestic market will also need a good SCM and this will make the quality of products better and give better returns for investors.

Research, testing labs for residual analysis and training related to postharvest handling and food safety – Myanmar needs modern service providers for these services. FAO and other organizations help have allowed us to know how other countries operate. But we are yet able to pass these on to the farmers, producers and exporters.

Fig. 23.  Fruits are packing in the bamboo basket and pine wood box

 

In Myanmar, it is estimated that 70% of farmers use natural or green processes in horticulture. MFFVPEA will be able to assist members by setting world recognized standards and processes.

MFFVPEA has the support of the Myanmar Government and plans to implement green safe and reliable systems.

Special project initiated by MFFVPEA

Special projects initiated by MFVPEA has started to develop a central market-clearing center and packaging house in Mandalay Division for mango. At present the association is organizing a producers and traders clearing center in a new location in Yangon. This will be at a new wholesale market and will assist all producers and buyers to get the best products at the best price.

This will become a center where consumers or retailers can buy fresh produce on a daily basis and in the medium-term will be able to give indicative prices to growers to know the market conditions. This will lead to growth for farmers so that plans are developed to meet the market demands and ensure their profitability. The prices at this wholesale market will be using international trading system so that becomes the benchmark inside and outside Myanmar. It will likely be based on the best systems used by other countries and to do this the association has been sending teams to study neighbouring countries so that Myanmar can be seen to be at the same level one day.

Due to the lack of cold storage facility, this center will be operated at a low profit to recover only its costs. The benefits are for the members and consumers.

Conclusion

Compared to Thailand, China, Vietnam and others, Myanmar’s Horticulture industry is still at its starting point. We hope that with help from FAO and others, the MFFVPEA will be able to set standards such as GAPs certification, training, knowledge, government support, finding, travelling to be able to compete in region in the five to ten years.

The domestic producers are able to meet all local demand and Myanmar imports less than 5% of fresh produce. It is estimated that annual local consumption would amount to US$2 billion.

The most important aspect for the industry is the need to streamline all the processes from product selection (based on forecast and demand) to reach end users across Myanmar and also to the export market. At present, there are no organized body to handle this yet.

Myanmar still needs infrastructure and investments to become a modern producer with all the steps and procedures to compete in the world market.

It also needs postharvest technologies and processing methods to produce frozen products, juices, drying canning to add value. There are only small low cost/cost efficient farmers but as they are not well-planned or managed, they cannot yet be considered successful or to used as examples.

As the country is still in its early developing stage for modern horticulture, it is envisioned that Myanmar will become a clean and green country compared to other countries. We can start working on the vision by using less pesticides and other chemicals. As Myanmar uses more of natural fertilizers and farming support services, it will be easy to develop green standards, which are based on international practices.

References

ADB, 2013. Agriculture, Natural Resources, and  Environment Initial Sector Assessment, stra-tegy, and Road Map. Asia Development Bank.

DOA.2014.Activities of Department of Agriculture, 2014. Department of Agriculture, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar.

DAP .2013.Information on Myanmar Agriculture, 2013. Department of Agriculture Planning. Ministry of   Agriculture and Irrigation, Nay Pyi Daw, Myanmar

Farmers Journal. 2013: Combined Articles for Fruit Growers: The Farmers Press, Yangon,     

      Myanmar.

FAO Stat. 2012. Fruit Consumption. FAO Statistical Year Book. Food and Agriculture   

      Organization of the United Nations Statistics Division. Rome, Italy.

FFTC. 2014. Status of the Tropical Fruit Sector: Task List of Country Survey Report. Food and

     Fertilizer Technology Center for the Asian and Pacific Region. Taipei, Taiwan.

Giles Hanley, Case Study of Land  in Myanmar .

JICA.2013. Data Collection Survey on Agriculture Sector in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar : Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA) , Sanyu Consultants INC.Yangon, Myanmar

MFFVPEA .2012. Fruit Calendar : Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetables Producers and Exporters Association, UMFCCI, Yangon, Myanmar.

 

List of Abbreviations

 


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