Yangon, Myanmar, November 12, 2018—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, and the Union of Myanmar Federation of
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), organized a National Seminar
on Food Safety in Yangon last week. The aim was to help food sector companies
in Myanmar address and improve food safety practices, thereby developing
the nation’s agribusiness sector, increasing exports, and generating jobs.
Unsafe food accounts for an estimated annual
productivity loss of around $500-750 million a year in Myanmar. Further,
inadequate food safety standards
and practices can inhibit agribusiness growth and shut domestic companies
out of global value chains. Investment
in food safety management systems, therefore, is a prerequisite for the
growth of the country’s agribusiness, a key sector for Myanmar’s economy.
“Internationally recognized standards have
a proven track record of delivering results, which include better risk
management and operational efficiency, among others,” said Vikram Kumar,
IFC Country Manager for Myanmar and Thailand. He added, “We are pleased
to be working with the entire value chain to make food safety a shared
responsibility in Myanmar.”
Apart from exploring a range of issues, the
seminar emphasized the need for regulatory frameworks and measures to address
food safety in a systemic and sustainable way. More than 300 participants
from the food processing and agribusiness sectors attended the event.
“The discussions helped entrepreneurs comprehend
how adopting world class food safety management system will help Myanmar
increase exports and create jobs, thus driving the economy,” said U Ye
Min Aung, Vice President of UMFCCI.
Gail Marzetti, Head of the Department for
International Development of the United Kingdom in Myanmar, said, “Often
the adoption and effective implementation of internationally accepted food
safety standards and certifications can at first be perceived as a burden
to businesses. Yet, if we understand that consumers and regulators need
to have trust in modern food producers and sellers for those businesses
to succeed then we start to understand that these standards will only improve
the situation for businesses.”
IFC’s advisory work on improving Myanmar’s
food safety practices, reforming regulations, and improving business environment
in the agribusiness sector is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade of Australia, the Department for International Development of
the United Kingdom and the government of Japan.
IFC has over 15 years’ experience in providing
Food Safety Advisory Services to agribusiness and retail clients globally.
This work has helped 150 IFC clients from 30 countries attract $290 million
in investments and generate over $230 million in new sales.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank
Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private
sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide,
using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities
in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more
than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging
the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared
prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
The UMFCCI is a national level non-governmental organization representing
and safeguarding the interests of the private business sector. Founded
in 1919, UMFCCI comprises 16 Regional and State Chambers of Commerce and
Industry, nine Border Trade Associations, 51 Affiliated Associations and
about 40,000 members. For more information, visit www.umfcci.com.mm