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How Covid-19 is Affecting Agrobusinesses

Interview with Esther Wintraecken
Country Manager of Fresh Studio, Co-Chair of Agrobusiness Advocacy Group

How have the agricultural businesses in Myanmar evolved when it’s compared to ASEAN countries?

As Myanmar is only at the start of improving and developing agricultural value chains, you can see similar trends as with for example Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia 20-30 years ago. Value chains are merely supply chains where in general not a clear structure (not on production nor on market level) is in place and the different actors are quite fragmented. This results in no access to the right information. For example, market prices, requirements of the market (quality standards) nor knowledge on the challenges  of the producers. This makes it difficult to provide a consistent, high quality supply and add value to the chain. Talking about adding value to the raw produce is also still a field that requires more investment, knowledge and market access. 

What are the implications of COVID-19 situation in and now and in the future?

The travel restrictions and curfew set by the government were hampering the transportation of horticultural produce, fish and livestock. Produce that all are transported overnight to keep freshness and longer shelf life. Through a curfew, increased spoilage of produce takes place which lowers the income of many and provides the consumer with low-quality and even unsafe products. At the same time, regional markets were closed and the number of wet markets lowered which left the producers with declined selling possibilities.

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