The oilseed and vegetable oil sector in Myanmar has a potential net export value of one billion American dollars, which is as much as their current trade deficit. This is the conclusion of a study by LEI Wageningen UR commissioned by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. In order to achieve this, Myanmar needs to use better agricultural knowledge to increase production volume and improve its processing of oilseed. Myanmar should first focus exports on the high demand in China and then make the necessary steps towards exporting to the European market, which has higher food safety standards.
Increased food safety
By opening up the economy, Myanmar will import more palm oil, which will push sesame oil and peanut oil off the domestic market. The recommended focus for this sector is therefore on export, higher efficiency, and guaranteed quality. In the chain, oilseed crushers need to modernise their equipment and work more efficiently. There are also further possibilities in seed processing: hulling, roasting and producing snacks. A specialised, certified and independent laboratory can play an important role in standardisation, quality and certification. This will result in increased food safety, which is important for the export strategy.
Sesame seed and peanut oil
Myanmar already has a large agricultural sector and is the world's biggest producer of sesame seed and sesame oil, the sixth biggest producer of peanuts and the fourth biggest producer of peanut oil. Myanmar currently exports a small amount to China and Japan; other seeds and derived products are consumed on the domestic market. The Netherlands is an important importer and processor of oilseed and vegetable oil. The Netherlands is also the world's biggest importer of peanuts (with 25% of the world's peanut imports) and is the biggest producer of edible oil in the EU except for Spain. A Myanmar export strategy would open up opportunities for the Dutch sector.