FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2019
U.S. Supports Melon Farmers
Nay Pyi Taw – Watermelon and muskmelon are the flagship export fruits of Myanmar and are the country’s most valuable fruit crops. With U.S. support, the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association (MFVP) melon farmers have improved practices and technologies while building stronger relationships with suppliers and financial institutions. These improvements at critical points in the melon business have increased opportunities and incomes for melon farmers.
American and Myanmar partners working on the transformation of the Myanmar melon sector met today at the #MelonNext event to discuss Myanmar-led strategies for further growth in the melon sector. The event was hosted by MFVP and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Value Chains for Rural Development project. Trade association leaders, farmers and key stakeholders in Myanmar’s melon value chain discussed impacts from USAID’s Innovative Grant to MFVP.
Opening the day’s discussions, USAID’s Deputy Mission Director, Pamela Fessenden, said: “Melons are an important crop for Myanmar, and we are proud of the work that USAID has done, working with Winrock International and the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association. Through this partnership, we have seen farmers’ associations, producers and exporters’ associations, and agriculture service providers emerge and take on the vital work of helping farmers improve the quality of their products and earn greater profits.” She added, “Promoting private-sector led, inclusive economic growth is central to USAID’s objective to support the people of Myanmar on their journey to self-reliance.”
A USAID grant supported the creation of the Myanmar Melon Producer and Exporter Association in 2018, a farmer-focused organization with more than 3,000 members that facilitates new services for farmers, including bulk purchase options for fertilizer and seed, collective sales, commodity transport insurance, and access to microfinance and loans. Myanmar melon farmers are adopting best practices to enable them to explore new markets for higher-quality fruit and fetch better, more stable prices for Myanmar melons. A pioneering group of farmers is using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for watermelon and muskmelon this year. USAID’s assistance has also enabled the two associations to begin developing a National Melon Export Strategy in collaboration with MyanTrade, under the Ministry of Commerce. A national export strategy which involves both the public and private sector will lay the foundation for inclusive economic growth for the melon industry and farmers.
The U.S. Embassy, through the $27 million USAID Value Chains for Rural Development activity and other efforts, is dedicated to promoting Myanmar’s transition to a more inclusive and open economy, while increasing bilateral trade and investment. This activity also works with farmers and processors in the ginger, soy, melon, and sesame sectors.
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