Daythasar –From Pa’O chillies to Kayah Khaung-Yay, how a husband and wife team is using Facebook to champion Myanmar’s regional produce during COVID-19

Harvesting tea leaves.  

By Chilli Team
Photo: Credit to Daythasar Facebook Page

With the economic headwinds in the tourism sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic, husband and wife tour operating duo Ma Ohnmar and Ko Myo Han needed to find a new way to make ends meet. As people across the country were busy adapting to the “new normal”, the couple, both aged 43 were discovering the power of Facebook for small businesses.By making a diverse range of regional produce available to shoppers on Facebook, Daythasar is not only helping the entrepreneurial couple to get through these challenging times, but is also contributing to the livelihoods of small-scale local producers in off the beaten track areas of Shan, Chin and Kayah states.”We are creating employment opportunities as well as allowing people to enjoy quality local products from around Myanmar,” Ma Ohnmar says with a genuine smile. “In the past, we sold small amounts of local products to our friends and family. During the pandemic, we started to officially sell those products on Facebook to help local food producers,” she added. Since launching in March 2020, Daythasar has grown steadily and is now home to more than 30 different products ranging from fish paste and fermented tea leaves to Ma-Khar powder and tamarind paste. Daythasar has 400 regular customers, some of whom share food recipes and photos which have been inspired by the local products.Key to the success of this business is the concept of “adding value”, a philosophy this husband and wife team has been very keen to share with their production partners. “Our first product was garlic from Pa’O villages. We ask the producers to pick out only the best quality garlic to sell on Daythasar. As we are receiving a higher quality product, we can offer a higher rate of payment than the villagers can get from the brokers at the market”, said Ma Ohnmar. Ma Ohnmar, however, admits that there is still some work to be done in this area. “Despite our efforts, producers are still surprised when they see the way their products look on our Facebook page. This is often due to the way the product appears in better packaging, or because of the price we can charge for a high quality, branded product to customers in the city,”.The couple used contacts built up during their years in Myanmar’s tourism industry while setting up the new venture. Many of the products on offer are the same local delicacies the couple had been encouraging their tourism clients to try while on holiday. Reflecting on business in a pre-Facebook world, Ma Ohmar said, “Back in 2010, when we first started our tour company, we had to rely on Government newspapers for advertising. It took hours and hours to queue up and submit the advertisement form. The advertising costs were also very high. Now, thanks to Facebook, we don’t face those difficulties anymore.”

Production of Amara Coffee.

“In my opinion, the tourism sector would not have grown this much without Facebook. And the same goes for Daythasar’s business. If we didn’t use Facebook, I’m not sure how many people would know about our business,” she added.For small business owners like Ma Ohmar, Facebook has become the enabler of opportunity for them to launch their dream business idea easily and in no stretch of time. Thanks to the platform’s free business tools, Daythasar unlocks the business opportunities and widen the local customer base for the food procedures so as to continue their businesses and sustain their livelihoods.”Moving forward, we will keep expanding our operations and look to partner with even more authentic local producers. We are so happy to see them enjoying increasing incomes and opportunities because of our Facebook page”, said Ma Ohnmar, full of energy and purpose.

Best Practices for Myanmar SMEs: 7 Tips to Improve Page Visibility and Follower Engagement
Creating a Facebook Page allows the more than 2 billion people on Facebook to discover your business and 6 in 10 local businesses say having an online presence is important for their long-term success. (Source:Facebook IQ) After you create a Facebook Page for your business, it is important for people to find and follow your Page. Here are the top best practices to help your Page gain a following on Facebook.
* Select the categories that best describe your business. Categories help people find your business when they search for your services or products. You can select up to 3 categories in your Page Settings. Select the most specific category for your business to maximize visibility in searches and make your Page easier to find.
* If you own a business with a physical location, add your address. People frequently search for nearby businesses. Make sure your address is accurate so people can find your business. If you don’t have a location where people can visit your business, edit your Page info to hide your street address oncomputersandmobile devices.
* Add a profile picture and cover photo to your Page.People tend to see businesses with a cover photo and profile picture as more trustworthy.
* Profile photo: Use a simple visual representation of your business, such as a logo. Use a square image.
* Cover photo or video:Show a recognizable part of your business that will attract people.
* If you have a website, add it to your Facebook Page.Make it easy for potential customers to learn more about your business.
* Update your hours. Customers want to know when your business will be open, particularly during holidays and special events. Update your business hours so that search results show your location is open.
* Turn on Recommendations:Let customers submit a rating and review/recommendation for your Page. Visitors to your Page will find valuable information that will increase their trust in your business.
* Encourage people to follow your Page:Remind new and existing customers why they should follow your Page, such as regular updates, new products or services, easy communication and exclusive offers.

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