Upgrading options for Myanmar fresh ginger value chains : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of AgriCommerce, School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Manawatu Campus, New Zealand

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The agriculture sector plays a significant role in the economy of Myanmar and contributes 32% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The current extent of the agriculture area in Myanmar is approximately 12 million hectares, occupying 18% of total cultivated land resources. Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc) is one of the export crops in Myanmar with the annual production volume of 66,085 tons from an approximate cultivation area of 4,985 hectares. It is grown by smallholder farmers and offers major economic opportunity for more than 6,000 households in the Southern Shan State of Myanmar. Myanmar ginger production is only 3% of the total world ginger production. Although world demand for ginger is growing, exports from Myanmar are declining with 60 % of production has to be exported to low price regional markets with unstable demand and volatile prices. Hence, Myanmar needs to find out how to upgrade the fresh ginger value chains to export to high price markets such as the USA and the EU. This current study aims for a better understanding of the existing Myanmar fresh ginger value chain from production to end markets in overseas. Therefore, the present study investigated the constraints and opportunities of current Myanmar fresh ginger value chains along with identifying the upgrading options. Data from primary and secondary sources were used in this study by using a qualitative approach. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, mailed questionnaires and document collection methods. Being a non-priority crop in Myanmar, the ginger sector has been paid little attention by the Government and hence, very limited research and development on the Myanmar ginger sector has been conducted. In order to export fresh ginger to high price markets, Global-GAP or organic certificates are required. The major constraints faced by the ginger value chain actors for achieving those certificates are found to be the long-term use of chemical herbicides and lack of technical awareness of integrated pests and disease management protocol. Apart from that, the present status of harvesting and post-harvest handling practices is also a constraint for achieving those certificates. An unreliable export market, high price volatility and cashflow constraints are major limitations faced by the value chain actors. Exchange rate volatility is a key constraint faced by exporters. Cold chain facilities and limited access to international banks, are both major issues for exporting Myanmar fresh ginger to high price markets. Introduction of appropriate financial market based instruments to overcome cashflow constraints would encourage farmers to adopt better production practices and timing of harvest. Additionally, the government participation in multi-disciplinary research, along with NGO support in the ginger sector, is found to be essential for upgrading the fresh ginger value chain in Myanmar. Increased collaboration between the public and private sectors, such as improvement of logistic facilities in the country, is recommended to improve the Myanmar fresh ginger sector. Such collaboration should assist in the aim for effective exports to the high price and reliable markets in the near future.
Ginger industry, Business logistics, Farms, Small, Economic aspects, Burma, Myanmar, fresh ginger value chain, smallholder farmers, production, harvest, post-harvest practices