An exploratory value chain analysis for Burmese pickled tea (LAPHET) : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of AgriCommerce in Agribusiness, Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Laphet (pickled tea) is a well-known traditional cuisine of Myanmar consisting of
tea leaves fermented into a pickle. It has a unique taste different from tea used for
drinking and has health benefits. Despite the fact that pickled tea is a popular food
in Myanmar, no research has been done to analyse its value chain and evaluate its
potential in the global market.
This study is an exploratory research and aims to examine the value chain of
pickled tea from production to the final consumer and to evaluate how to improve
the quality in the value chain. In addition, the improvements to the integrity to the
pickled tea value chain are addressed.
The value chain analysis revealed the major actors in the pickled tea value chain
and described the process as tea leaves pass through several intermediaries with
value being added at each stage before reaching the end consumer. The chain is
governed by wholesalers and manufacturers who have capital advantage over the
other chain actors. Therefore, farmers get the lower share of the price margin.
This study shows the domestic pickled tea value chain and it describes the
upgrades to the chain if it is to be upgraded. Pickled tea is a profitable industry and
has high potential in the global market. However, there are considerable
weaknesses and challenges to developing a sustainable pickled tea industry from
both farm and market perspective. Supply issues such as availability of tea leaves,
quality and consistency of the pickled tea, and effective grading along the value
chain were addressed. Food safety and traceability is also a key area of concern.
The study recommends that value chain upgrading can help improve the
effectiveness and efficiency of the chain. Generally, the findings suggest that
strategies aiming to strengthen the linkages within the value chain, collective
marketing, and improved processing technologies can enhance the development of
the pickled tea value chain in Myanmar. Therefore, policy aiming at increasing
farmers’ access to modern technology and inputs, developing infrastructure,
cooperative development, and improving extension systems are recommended to
accelerate the chain’s development.