Consortium of Dutch companies invest in Myanmar’s horticulture sector in collaboration with German Cooperation

A consortium of Dutch consulting firms and industrial companies has joined forces with German Cooperation in a development partnership that aims to assist farmers in Myanmar in increasing the productivity and improve the quality of vegetable cultivation. Together they have set up a demonstration greenhouse of 3,000 m² in Heho, Shan State, Myanmar, to demonstrate best practices in the field of horticulture. Vegetable farmers from Southern Shan State are being trained by Dutch horticulture experts to improve their practices. The demonstration greenhouse will be formally opened on Wednesday 2 May in attendance of Dr Katharina Spiess, Chancellor for Development Cooperation of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and Wouter Jurgens, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Myanmar is a country in transition, which after decades of stagnation and political isolation is going through vast economic, political and social transformations. Blessed by a diverse climate and vast arable land, the country offers enormous potential for vegetable farming. Increasing tourism, a rising middle class and international retail and restaurant chains entering the market drive the domestic demand for high quality and safe vegetable products. However, compared to other countries in South East Asia, farming techniques are still relatively underdeveloped, resulting in low yields. Furthermore, the usage of agrochemicals is abundant. By introducing better farming inputs such as high-quality vegetable seeds, growing medium, (biological) crop protection and fertilizers, in combination with offering dedicated training programs, local farmers are enabled to improve their practices which result in safer products and higher incomes.

Since 2015 a Dutch consortium consisting of Larive International (together with its Myanmar-based affiliate Thura Swiss), Rijk Zwaan, Koppert, Priva, VEK and Delphy invested in strengthening the horticultural sector in Myanmar. The consortium cooperates with City Mart, the country’s leading retail chain, for the supply of amongst others bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers by local farmers. The demonstration greenhouse shows international best practices in the field of horticulture and acts as training location. Furthermore, the consortium works closely together with local public agencies and private associations, including the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association and the State Agriculture School in Heho, to transfer knowledge within the sector.

Matthias Brienen, director of Larive International and coordinator of the consortium: “Myanmar’s horticulture sector offers vast potential, primarily to produce for the local market. However, in the long run the country could develop to a successful exporting country as well, being strategically located between two enormous regional markets: India and China. By introducing more knowledge intensive production systems, Myanmar could become self-sufficient and increase its competitive position in the region. Our integrated value chain approach enables farmers to improve practices and provides linkages to end-markets”.

Rens Knieriem, business manager South East Asia of Rijk Zwaan: “Vegetable farmers in Myanmar have a strong drive to improve their practices. Our vegetable seed varieties enable them to increase yields as they offer advantages in terms of resistances to diseases and plagues, reliability and have a consistent quality. We furthermore offer farmers training and information with respect to seedling production, fertigation and (biological) crop protection management and harvesting techniques. Hereby we contribute to increased food safety, higher incomes and reduction of agrochemicals”.

The consortium has joined forces with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and developed a partnership within the framework of the develoPPP.de program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The consortium has the ambition to further strengthen its position in Myanmar and expand its activities within other regions of the country.

For more information, please contact Matthias Brienen.