CESD Facilitates Advocacy Workshop on Beans and Pulses in Yangon
Vice President (2), U Henry Van Thio has strongly advocated for a more cohesive and cooperative approach with different stakeholders in order to bring out necessary reforms in the Myanmar beans and pulses sector.
The Vice President (2) was among several dignitaries from the Government and other key stakeholders such as farmers, traders, and exporters who attended a day-long workshop organized by the Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association and the Yangon Region Chambers of Commerce and Industry supported by CESD, held on 18 August at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).
The CESD played a critical role in facilitating and presenting some of its key findings based on several research studies that the organization undertook over the past year related to the pigeon pea and mung bean sector in particular. The engagement critically reflects CESD’s commitment to the Civic Engagement Alliance (CEA) led by ICCO Cooperation that aims to build the lobbying and advocacy capacity of stakeholders in the pulses value chain.
The CESD highlighted the importance of building the awareness of the key market developments and recent trade policies of importing countries, such as India, to farmers who are the most vulnerable and affected by ongoing trade policy restrictions. This fact was further echoed by the government who have also begun to release information regarding pulse import policy changes by foreign countries, global market climate and export market conditions in cooperation with related organizations and depots.
Considering India is a key trade partner, where the regular income through legal pulses transactions play an important role for foreign reserves in Myanmar, the CESD requested that the Myanmar Government intervene strategically in order to alleviate the problems faced by the farmers in the country, owing to the quota restrictions imposed by India. The CESD further suggested that the demand for pulses is expected to increase for the ever-increasing Indian population consumption in the long term, which would pose a good opportunity for pulses production – including diversification of the cultivation of different pulses in Myanmar.
Several research and studies carried out by the CESD have postulated some strategic interventions which would help in building closer cooperation among various value chain stakeholders. This will be highly critical, especially to upgrade the quality of products through value-added production that will result in export market diversification and better prices from existing buyers.
Establishment of modern storage and infrastructure facilities will help in avoiding crop losses due to improper storage. Increased cooperation between the private sector and Government to support crop insurance and streamlining of commodity exchange centres will increase access to market information that will strategically benefit all stakeholders across the pulses value chain – especially the farmers.
Extending financial credit through a variety of channels and mechanisms to all stakeholders across the value chain promotes further cooperation between them, which could harness the burgeoning use of smartphones and information/communication technology (ICT) to establish farmers’ networks and provide access to inputs and other services through innovative mobile applications and other mediums.
All of these aforementioned recommendations require cooperation from the highest to the lowest level across the value stream which led the Vice President (2), U Henry Van Thio, to urge related ministries and other regional institutions to cooperate actively in future activities of various pulses production and other substitute crop selection.
CESD will continue to engage with all these actors – especially at farm/community level – in order to ensure that policy formulation considers the issues faced by farming communities and to provide strategic recommendations through lobby and advocacy to the Government through evidence-based research.