16 May 2019
Myanma Awba Group together with Livelihoods and Food Security Fund, supported by Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, launched an innovative public-private partnership which promises a step change in the country's rural development. The Ministry is happy to see this project increase the productivity and livelihoods of seed producers and farmers across Myanmar. This public-private partnership will ensure that smallholder farmers have access to quality pulse and oil seeds that are both sustainable and resilient to climate change. The programme is expected to increase the incomes of 1.3 million farmers through the supply of high-quality seeds to smallholder farmers.
Fund Director, Livelihoods and Food Security Fund, Katy Webley said “One of the challenges for smallholder farmers in the Dry Zone is seeds, the quality of seeds, particularly open-pollinated variety. And so, the LIFT donors wanted to improve the seeds quality and improve the farming technique and improve the yield. To do that, we really needed something new, a new innovative partnership.” “LIFT is bringing its resources from its donors. Together, we will have this joint venture working with and on behalf of the smallholder farmers in the Dry Zone".
The high-quality seed production programme will benefit seed producers and farmers in Myanmar’s Central Dry Zone. Currently, farmers in the region grow pulses and oilseeds that are not particularly drought tolerant, making them very vulnerable to climate change.
Chief Executive Officer, Awba Seeds & Chief Agronomist, Martin Weiss said "Today, we've launched the Pahtama Seed Company which is a joint venture company between Myanmar Awba Group and a farmer group.” “We will be building processing facilities. We will have agronomist, expertise. We will have support services for the farmers who become the seed growers for the company. So, the farmer group will be formed as a CLG. This is a company limited by guarantee. The farmers who are member of that will supply the seeds to Pahtama Seed and they will be paid for the seeds and they will also receive a dividend from the profits of Pahtama Seed Company..."
LIFT's support is crucial to catalyse private sector investment, which would otherwise not happen as the gross margins in open-pollinated seed production are significantly lower in comparison to the margins for hybrid seed production.