Myanma Awba Group (‘Awba’), Mercy Corps and Golden Sunland have formed a coalition to support paddy farmers from Labutta, a town in the Ayeyarwady Region, in earning a higher income. The project is named ‘Link to Labutta Market’ and was initiated by Mercy Corps, an international NGO, as a humanitarian programme to rebuild Labutta in the wake of cyclone Nargis. This strategic partnership will bring benefits to all parties; Awba makes input product sales, Golden Sunland purchases high-quality paddy, and most importantly farmers will earn more money.
Launched in January 2019, the ‘Link to Labutta Market’ currently benefits nearly 40 farmers and their families operating on 200 acres in Labutta. The programme aims to improve the farmers’ livelihood by an estimated 30% and will demonstrate the effective integration of the agendas of both NGOs and the private sector.
U Thet Oo of Mercy Corps said, “The majority of Myanmar’s population work in the agriculture sector, and rice farmers are at the bottom of that value pyramid. They are exposed to different risks that trap many below the poverty line. We are pleased to provide capacity development and resources to the areas affected by natural disasters while continuing to innovate and evaluate impact beyond its presence.”
As part of the initiative, Singapore-based Golden Sunland, a company that promotes responsible farming from seed to harvest, signed a contract farming agreement to purchase paddy grown based on Good Agriculture Practice (“GAP”) from Labutta paddy farmers at a price higher than the market average. Golden Sunland will then export the procured paddy internationally.
David Chen of Golden Sunland said, “As a business philosophy, we are constantly looking for new ways to add value to the supply chain and being a part of this partnership allows Golden Sunland to work closely with Myanmar farmers to ensure stability of income while bringing local products to the international market.”
Jin Young Choi, Head of Business Development at Awba said, “The ‘Link to Labutta Market’ is a great opportunity for Awba to apply its farming advisory capabilities to support farmers to achieve higher productivity. We are keen to work with other NGOs and crop trading partners, and to make further use of precision farming capabilities such as satellite remote sensing, agriculture IoT and pest identification AI to assist the farming community.”
Awba helps farmers achieve higher yields and ensure that they adhere to GAP standards by providing farming advisory services and soil testing. Awba is also providing an agri-mobile app Htwet Toe (which means ‘higher yield’ in Myanmar) to farmers; a cutting-edge app which empowers farmers to improve their yields, grow higher-quality crops and make the most of their resources to increase crop productivity.