MEDA sowing seeds of economic growth in Asia

New projects with private sector partners and Australian Government will reap benefits for smallholder farmers in Myanmar and Pakistan


Nov. 21, 2017

WATERLOO, ON – MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) is proud to be part of two new initiatives in Asia over the next two years that build on our commitment to shared value, working with the private sector to solve social problems and spur economic development.

With $823,475 in funding from the Australian Government through its Business Partnerships Platform, and private sector contributions, MEDA will work with partners in Pakistan and Myanmar to improve small farmers’ access to quality seeds, the first step towards better crops, higher yields, and more sustainable livelihoods.

“Through the BPP program, MEDA is excited to be re-engaging in Pakistan with a long-time partner, while looking forward to expanding avenues and possibilities in Myanmar,” said MEDA president Allan Sauder.

MEDA returns to Pakistan after three years, in a renewed partnership with Engro Corporation to provide high-quality seeds and training to small farmers, linking them to more profitable markets. PAVE Pakistan – Partnerships in Value Enhancement – will work with 4,000 farmers in the Punjab region, including 400 women, who will learn seed production techniques proven to fetch a higher premium than regular crops.

“Engro Foundation’s partnership with MEDA to work on PAVE Pakistan is in line with our vision for the future of Engro, where we seek to deploy inclusive businesses and create shared value for a broader category of stakeholders directly or indirectly integrated in our value chain,” said Aman Ul Haque, head of Engro Foundation. “This opportunity will help us deliver a more meaningful impact on smallholder farmers and women in Pakistan’s agri-chain.”

In Myanmar, MEDA is partnering with East-West Seed Company to develop a new market for commercial seeds, develop the vegetable sector in Kayin State, and demonstrate the effectiveness of engaging female farmers in agri-businesses. ADVANCE Myanmar – Advancing Inclusive Growth Through Shared Value in Myanmar – will improve more than 6,000 farmers’ knowledge and practices in growing market vegetables and forming new market linkages to sell their products. At least 60% of the farmers will be women.

"Knowledge transfer, quality inputs, and market development are inseparable: farmers need both access to know-how as well as quality agricultural inputs like seeds, in order to catalyze and sustain the market for vegetables,” said Stuart Morris, executive director of East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer. “This is the principle behind our knowledge transfer activities in Myanmar. We are excited to work with the Australian government and MEDA to enhance the skills and technical capabilities of Kayin farmers, and help create the conditions for a thriving vegetable sector."

Both projects build on and leverage MEDA’s previous and current work in the two countries – USAID Entrepreneurs in Pakistan (2009-2014), and Improving Market Opportunities for Women in Myanmar (2015-2020) funded by Global Affairs Canada. MEDA also has a long commitment to blended finance, a key to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.


For more information, please contact:
Linda Whitmore -
Katie West -

About Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
MEDA is an international NGO founded in 1953 that provides technical expertise in subsector and value chain analysis, market linkages, financial services (rural finance, deposit mobilization and youth & financial services), health systems, and financial institution capacity development. MEDA’s expertise cuts across sectors, working with vulnerable and underserved populations like youth, low-income women, and rural populations.

About Engro
Engro Corporation (PSX: ENGRO) is a Pakistani home-grown corporation widely regarded as one of the largest conglomerates in Pakistan. Engro's portfolio consists of a variety of businesses including fertilizers, energy, chemical storage & handling, petrochemicals and foods. Fueled by the vision of becoming a digital first group in the country, Engro's investments are all designed to deploy inclusive business models to pursue an integrated and inclusive growth for all who interact with its businesses. The Engro Foundation, its social investment arm, won the 2014 IFC Transformation Business Award for its inclusive business model. Business inclusiveness is at the heart of Engro’s social impact strategy as the company looks to integrate the underprivileged, youth and women into its value chains. For more information please visit us on

About East-West Seed Company
East-West Seed Company (EWS) has more than 35 years of experience in market-oriented plant breeding. Working in emerging economies, EWS currently supplies seed to 18 million smallholder farmers in the countries where they operate. The family-owned company produces and markets a wide portfolio of open-pollinated and hybrid vegetable seeds, and specializes in tropical vegetable crops, working closely with local farmers through knowledge transfer teams and sales and promotional services. ​In 2016 it ranked
​#1 on the Access to Seeds Global Index for Vegetable Seed Companies and on the Regional Index for Eastern Africa.

About Business Partnerships Platform
The BPP is designed as an entry point for new partners, Australian and overseas entities, to work with Australia’s DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) to deliver social impact and commercial returns in the Asia-Pacific region. The BPP actively promotes women’s economic empowerment.

About Shared Value
Creating “shared value”—generating economic value in a way that also produces value for society by addressing its challenges. A shared value approach reconnects company success with social progress. – Creating Shared Value - Harvard Business Review Jan/Feb 2011