Location: Kayin State, Myanmar
Partnership Overview: The ADVANCE Myanmar partnership pilots the development of a new regional market for East West Seed (EWS), an international seed supplier in Kayin, Myanmar, primarily using a ‘woman lead farmer’ model. This initiative aims to improve smallholder farming practices through training and demonstration plots, and facilitate market linkages to support farmers to sell their produce. This initiative brings together two organizations already active in agriculture in Myanmar: EWS and MEDA. Through MEDA’s Improving Market Opportunities for Women (IMOW) Project, MEDA is currently active in 29 villages in Kayin, improving rice production and working closely with the private sector. EWS is working with over 4,000 smallholder farmers in other parts of Myanmar, and across South East and South Asia.
Gender Equality: This initiative promotes women’s economic empowerment by improving female farmers’ as well as male farmers’ knowledge and practices in growing market vegetables and forming new market linkages for the sale of their products. In addition, it enhances women’s voices in community leadership by promoting lead farmers and sales agents.
Shared Value: EWS already has good market share for its vegetable seed sales in Myanmar, however, not across all parts of the country. This initiative allows EWS to grow its seed sales in a new state, which is rebuilding following 60 years of armed conflict. Supply chain actors, including input suppliers, traders and wholesalers will benefit from the availability of new products and business opportunities. Around 6,000 farmers will increase their productivity and incomes through access to new, higher yielding vegetable seed varieties and the use of better farming techniques.
- EWS Seed varieties are widely available in Kayin to smallholder producers
- A market has developed for high quality seeds and other agri-inputs in Kayin
- Farmers have increased access to quality farm inputs and information, including sustainable agricultural production practices
- The women lead farmer inclusive approach is well documented with lessons learned shared with key stakeholders in Myanmar on how to integrate women farmers in pre-farm gate and market activities
DFAT's expertise in development contributes to building stronger, more inclusive private sector growth in the Asia-Pacific region. DFAT does this through sharing its knowledge of business, political and regulatory environments, access to professional networks and catalytic funding. The BPP (Busines Partnerships Platform) is designed as an entry point for new partners, Australian and overseas entities, to work with DFAT to deliver social impact and commercial returns in the region. The BPP actively promotes initiatives that drive women's economic empowerment.
EWS has been selling seeds in Myanmar for over 10 years, and has credibility as a local, ethical business. They work closely with smallholder farmers and input suppliers, and research environmental conditions to improve tropical vegetable varieties. EWS estimates that more than 100,000 Myanmar farmers already benefit from the company's improved seed varieties. Under this initiative EWS will provide training to farmers and input suppliers and incentivise seed promotion