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Myanmar is biggest exporter of melons and cucumbers in ASEAN

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Staff writer ▼ | June 30, 2016
Myanmar's Ministry of Commerce reports that close to 350,000 tonnes of watermelon and honeydew melons have been exported to China, India and other Asian destinations since April.
Myanmar cucumbers
Food trade   Local farmers are not profiting
Farmers have reaped more than $42 million from the trade, however some complain much of that profit has gone to non-Myanmar growers. Commerce officials say Myanmar is the biggest exporter in ASEAN of melons and cucumbers.

As of June 17 this fiscal year, 152,757 tonnes of watermelon and honeydew melon worth about $18.5 million, 171,483 tonnes of watermelon valued at $18.4 million, and 26,380 tonnes of honeydew at $5.3 million were exported to China, India, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.

“Watermelon is the largest export by price, followed by mango and honeydew,” said commerce ministry director U Myo Thu on June 25. “Trade procedures have been simplified in terms of registering for an export licence and tax liberalisation.”

But he added, “Farmers use too much insecticide. If we want to expand our fruit exports, we must cut down on insecticide use.”

Most of the trade goes cross-border to Myanmar’s immediate neighbours, via the 20 border posts. Of the 10 ASEAN countries, Myanmar sends its fruit products to all except Laos.

Commerce ministry figures show a steady increase in fruit exports, from 421,707 tonnes worth $75.267 in 2012-13, 612,242 tonnes worth $96.053 million in 2013-14, 698,752 tonnes costing $107.141 million in 2014-25 and 717.984 tonnes worth $93.798 million last year.

So far this year, the total volume of fruit exported is 180.334 tonnes worth $27.465 million. The melon season runs from November to April.

“We hope exports will improve this year because farmers are working hard to raise the quality,” said Sagaing Region watermelon and honeydew sales group deputy chair Ko Thitsar.

“But farmers receive only 20 percent of the profit, while 80pc goes to foreigners in our country because of exports to China. There are negotiations going on with the government to look into the question of foreigners cultivating Myanmar farms. This will take cooperation,” he said.


 

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