METRO Wholesale Myanmar Limited, the wholesale company for food and non-food assortments, hosted a Myanmar Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Ceratificate Awarding Ceremony in Aung Ban on 14 November. As part of its commitment to elevate food standards and improve the lives of local food suppliers and producers, METRO has been assisting and training farmers in different states and regions of the country over the past year to qualify for Myanmar GAP certification.
Out of the 200 farmers in Shan State and Magway Region who received Crop Production Handling trainings from METRO in the past year, 62 farmers have been awarded Myanmar GAP certification from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. This includes 48 farmers from Shan State who received their certificates during the ceremony held today.
Implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, the GAP guidelines encourage sustainable farming and food safety practices so as to increase productivity and profits for farmers. GAP certified farmers are able to access better markets through wholesale distributors such as METRO and benefit from profitable market prices. As agriculture continues to be a central pillar of the Myanmar economy, improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers is critical to ensuring sustainable economic growth.
Said U ZawMyatTun, Deputy Director, Department of Agriculture, who graced the ceremony, “The agriculture sector is one of the most important sectors for Myanmar’s economy, contributing 30 per cent to Myanmar’s GDP and 25 per cent of the country’s exports. In recent years, the government has raised awareness among famers growing vegetables and fruits to adopt the GAP system, so as to ensure that food produced is of a certified level of quality and safety. We believe in the collective efforts of all, including the private sector, to support our farmers in Myanmar and we are thankful that METRO Wholesale Myanmar has been conducting trainings for farmers and food producers since 2018 to help them elevate food production and food safety standards.”
METRO aims to source 75 per cent of its products locally for wholesale distribution to its HoReCa (hotels, restaurants, caterers, independent traders and B2B customers. The products sourced by METRO must be fully compliant with its international Food Safety Standards. Since its formal launch of operations in Myanmar in March 2019, METRO has been working with a selection of quality approved local food suppliers and producers across different regions and states of Myanmar, creating a Common Sourcing and Purchasing Alliance Practice.
“At METRO, we’re not just interested in doing business in Myanmar but we’re here to raise a higher level of food safety together with local organizations and authorities. Food safety starts with farmers and continues through the value chain of food manufacturing and services, via packing houses, value-added operations, and points of sale, before reaching the consumer. By providing trainings around food safety, crop production handling and good agricultural practices, we are allowing food producers to meet international standards. In this way, we will help unlock the potential of the local agricultural, livestock and fisheries sector and foster export opportunities through the firm’s international sourcing channels,” shared Mr Jens Michel, CEO of METRO Wholesale Myanmar Limited.
The 48 farmers from Shan State who received the Myanmar GAP certification today included potato, garlic and tomato growers.
Said U Chit Htun, a Garlic farmer from NuaungShwe in Shan State, “I am very glad to receive Myanmar GAP certification today. As a farmer, I believe food safety is very important and the GAP guidelines have helped me to implement systems and procedures at my farm to ensure that I mitigate the risk of contamination from the process of growing and harvesting, to storage and transportation. By receiving Myanmar GAP certification, I feel more confident about selling my goods at profitable prices. I wish to express my thanks to METRO for encouraging me and providing training which helped me achieve this goal.”
“As the benchmark for food safety, GAP guidelines can be implemented at any type of farm, big or small. To receive GAP certification, I was required to create a safety plan at my farm, show how I implemented that plan, and ensure there is proper record keeping of farm operations. The process of GAP certification encouraged me to improve my farm operations such as ensuring cleanliness of equipment, monitoring the water and soil protection, and improving hygiene at packaging points. METRO has supported farmers in Shan State with valuable food safety trainings and by purchasing goods directly from them. I hope they will continue to support more farmers and food producers across Myanmar in the future,” added U Chit Htun, a Garlic farmer from NyaungShwe in Shan State.
As METRO Wholesale Myanmar continues to source food products directly from local producers and with traceability from Farm to Fork at the core of its business, the company will continue to provide Food Safety, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), as well as Crop Production Handling trainings for more farmers and food producers across Myanmar.
In Myanmar, METRO offers B2B customers a convenient shopping experience with a virtual one-stop-shop solution that combines online trading with delivery services. At the heart of METRO’s wholesale operation in Myanmar is a 5,800 m² warehouse in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone where incoming goods are received, stored, processed and packaged for delivery to B2B customers in compliance with strict quality and food safety standards.
Utilising a combination of e-commerce and food service distribution (FSD), METRO’s B2B customers benefit from an innovative and market-leading delivery business that sets new local standards in terms of quality, traceability, product freshness, and safety. To meet the evolving demands of our B2B customers, METRO has recently expanded its product range to offer more than 3,000 food and non-food products.—GNLM