Potato sector development in Myanmar

Potato sector development in Myanmar

di, 08/11/2016 - 09:26 | Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland
Over the past two years Myanmar and the Netherlands have achieved enormous progress in the development of the potato sector, which is one of the sectors both countries have agreed to cooperate on in the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 19 May 2015.

Myanmar is seen by informed experts as the potential potato garden of Southeast Asia, provided that it gets well guided support for realising this growth. At the moment, potatoes are already an important cash crop for many farmers. With the expected growth of the economy and thus increasing purchasing power of the population, the consumption of potatoes and potato products will increase substantially in the coming years. Therefore potato growers are very keen on learning new technologies and innovation that will enable them to improve potato production. This offers not only opportunities for employment and growth of income for Myanmar farmers but also for Dutch private companies seeking new export opportunities for seeds and other inputs, field machinery and equipment for handling, storage and processing. As the Netherlands has a leading position on potato internationally, our ambition is to become the preferred partner for Myanmar.

Potato training
To contribute to this ambition RVO carried out several projects in 2015-2016, in cooperation with the Dutch Embassy in Yangon and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Missions to the Netherlands and Myanmar were successfully implemented and have created serious interest for cooperation between the two countries. Furthermore, a baseline study was conducted to identify the constraints and to come up with quick wins and yield gap. This study has formed the basis for a capacity building and demonstration project aiming to train 25 trainers from government and private sectors in all aspects of the potato value chain. These professionals in turn will be able to contribute to strategy development and will act as trainers and advisers for farmers. For example, they successfully showcased what they have learned at different locations in Shan State, Myanmar, to 900 farmers visiting the potato trials and field days in the first two weeks of October 2016 (see picture). In addition, an advisory mission was conducted to develop a technical design for a professional small scale potato processing unit in Myanmar and to study the future perspectives of potato processing.

Developing Myanmar potato sector
Besides the activities of RVO, other Dutch partners contributed to the further development of the Myanmar potato sector. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has undertaken several missions on trade and investment and conditioned storage. Nuffic-Niche started cooperation in the field of agricultural education with the State Agricultural Institutes in Myanmar. And at present a Dutch potato chain consortium (PPP) is being developed via TopSector/TKI. This consortium will also focus on seed potatoes and multiplication, storage and processing and on developing new market-led value chains and capacity development.

First business deal
The mutual efforts of the Netherlands has led to a first business deal, as Myanmar imported 75 tons of Dutch seed potatoes of three different varieties. These varieties have already been planted and harvested for further multiplication in combination with testing for registration. And recently a second order for more seed potatoes was made by Myanmar farmers.