Winrock International and the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization (Myantrade) under the Ministry of Commerce have signed a cooperation agreement for the export promotion of six crops including coffee.
Ministry of Commerce, Permanent Secretary Aung Soe said, “We signed MoU for cooperation and assisting in designating specifications and trade promotion. We will conduct training for export promotion.”
The agreement was signed on 2 September. Under it the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will assist in designating specifications for six crops namely coffee, watermelon, musk melon, ginger, soybean and sesame and also for trade promotion.
“Primarily they will assist in policy development, how to assist in promotion of crop cultivation, and providing training. And also they will do promotion of cooperation with the private sector in trade centres in upstate areas,” permanent secretary Aung Soe added.
This plan will be completed by the coming December and currently the Ministry of Commerce is working on adopting the major export items in its national export strategy and also is focused on export promotion.
In 2014, Winrock, an international development nonprofit, began a five-year, $27 million project (funded by a grant from USAID) in Myanmar to develop better agricultural practices, helping farmers produce more quality cherries and better connect with markets. USAID calls this work “upgrading value chains.” Coffee is one of the crops in Myanmar undergoing value-chain development.
Winrock International’s Value Chains for Rural Development project has been partnering unofficially with MyanTrade in all five of the value chains they cover, namely coffee, soy, melons, sesame, ginger, over much of the past year, but now have an official agreement to collaborate on building markets and trade for all five of those crops.
In terms of primary export markets, watermelon, musk melon and soybean are exported primarily to China at present and ginger is exported to Bangladesh. Sesame is exported mostly to the EU. Coffee is exported to Hong Kong, US, Canada and many other countries.