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
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.