YARA International is confident of doing well in Myanmar’s agriculture sector because of the country’s current low productivity compared to other Asean countries, said Havar Valved, the firm’s country manager for Myanmar.
Valved said the firm aims to be the leading provider of sustainable crop nutrition solutions in Myanmar by 2020.
“Within the next three years, we aim to be the top brand that farmers trust when they think of crop quality and profitability for their farming business growth. We feel confident that we have enough knowledge to scale up and support farmers here,” he said.
“To achieve this, we are now working hard to establish a relationship of trust with farmers, distributors and value-chain partners by delivering value to them. This includes hosting farmer meetings, demonstration plots and field days to share knowledge with thousands of farmers with the aim of increasing their profitability and improving their livelihoods.”
He said the firm would help farmers increase productivity while reducing environmental impacts. He sees great potential for increased productivity in Myanmar by improving fertiliser application practices.
According to Valved, Myanmar’s total fertiliser consumption is less than one-fourth of Thailand, though the two nations have nearly the same agriculture area.
Currently, China and Thailand are two of Yara’s biggest markets in Asia. The firm began operations in Thailand 46 years ago, and has become the market leader in many crop segments there. In line with the Thai government’s agenda, the firm has a Thailand 4.0 vision for smarter ways to farm, focusing on farmers, small and medium enterprises, and digital solutions.
Yara established its presence in Myanmar in January by distributing its products – mostly produced in Norway – providing crop knowledge and application competence to farmers. With quality products designed to maximise crop yield and quality, the firm aims to address the issues Myanmar farmers are facing, said Valved.
“As the agricultural and farming communities in Myanmar increasingly look for sustainable solutions to increase productivity, the market adoption rate is growing. We expect our business in Myanmar will grow relative to our position in the rest of the world,” he said.
According to Valved, the firm is rapidly expanding its dealer and retail network and expects to be represented in more than 500 retail stores by 2020. Building competence among employees, farmers and distributors, and creating shared value in the agriculture value chain play a vital role in the firm’s strategy.
He stressed the importance of investing in local talents. Currently, the firm has hired 25 local talents, and will continue to look for ambitious young locals. In the future, further investments will be made to create a more efficient supply chain and complementary services.
“Newly recruited crop-nutrition advisers will go through comprehensive training by global experts and be tested and assessed to progress to the next step in a career path within agronomy. By formally assessing their competence, skills and behaviours we can be more confident to ensure we provide high value and performance,” he said.
The firm will host knowledge-sharing events in the coming months for farmers in Upper Myanmar, including Shan State, Mandalay and Sagaing regions. The events are tailored for various seasonal crops grown in different regions.
“In Myanmar, we aim to work closely with thousands of farmers. Our agronomists will engage with growers, analysing growth conditions and needs to provide the most suitable nutrition for each crop. For example in Aungban, we are focusing on Brassica crop [vegetables, cabbages, or mustard plants] which many farmers in this region grow,” he said.
More than 1,000 farmers attended its knowledge-sharing event in the Aungban township of Shan State on April 3. The firm has collaborated with Yezin Agricultural University to offer scholarships and internship programmes.