Turning Passion into Action:  the Facility for Partnerships, Model Green Tea Factory

‘Facility for Partnerships’ is a GIZ (Deutsche Geselschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit) initiative that identifies and kick-starts local projects in Myanmar aimed at creating jobs and income for communities.   Current project areas are the Self-Administered Zones of the ethnic groups of Danu, Paoh, Palaung and Kokang and the Kyaukme Townships, all situated in Shan State.  The construction of the Model Green Tea factory started in September of 2014 and it was fully equipped by February 2015 to begin production testing.  The land for the factory was contributed by the Village Development Committee of Sikay-Inn.

What was truly amazing about witnessing this project making history in Myanmar’s tea sector, was the degree of cooperation between the various partners supporting it.  It wasn’t a typical international project driven by well intentioned but absentee donors – the F4P is a genuine collaboration that was initiated by the Myanmar Tea Cluster, The Pindaya Tea Cluster and the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association (MFVP).    Everybody pulled together to turn this passion into a reality for small scale tea farmers, including the local Special Administrative Zone of Danu.  This level of collaboration is a major accomplishment for the outlier areas of Myanmar.

Tea production methods are very artisanal in most of the country and teas are processed in the orthodox and traditional fashion as has been done for centuries.  This has left Myanmar farmers unable to compete with their Chinese neighbours and many of the local teahouses in Yangon now blend the local teas with Chinese product.  As such, GIZ aims to emphasize sustainability for the Pindaya facility output by combining technical training at the farm level with factory operations and maintenance training and technical know-how for processing high quality green tea.   The final step in the value chain that GIZ will help develop are the market linkages required for farmers to obtain organic certifications and to export to international markets.

It’s a large task – but one that will provide a real, tangible impact in the community.  Over 1,200 farmers have access to the processing facility, and income for the average farmer will increase by an estimated 20% just by initial increase of yields and quality.  That’s not counting when they start exporting to you and yours.  And, if all goes well – a replicable business model for tea farmers elsewhere in Shan State.  And for the rest of us – a good local cuppa for a good cause!

Read up on the partners here:  www.giz.de and www.mffvpea.org and watch the below video:

The Myanmar Tea Cluster (MTC):   established in March 2013, has currently about 10,000 members from different tea growing regions.  The association represents tea farmers, processors and traders.  The aim is to improve the Myanmar tea industries of black tea, green tea and pickled tea.  The main mandates are capacity building and enhancing coordination and networking among the value chain actors.  MTC is a member of the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Export Association (MFVP).

The Pindaya Tea Cluster:  a member of the MTC established in July 2013 with 40 members, it is a community-based association that represents tea farmers, processors, brokers and traders.  Their aim is to improve Pindaya’s tea industry, promote sustainable economic practices and facilitate market access.

The Myanmar Fruit, Glower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association (MFVP):  established in 2006 and registered with the government.  Operating under the aegis of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

Public, private and civil society organisations that work in a partnership in Myanmar can apply to F4P.  For more information on the Facility for Partnership initiative email the below address:

F4p@giz.de

Thanks to Matthias Plewa & Ko Kyi Nyein Chan from GIZ for contributing to the above information.

Tea Factory 3

U Soe Than Min Din, Chairman of the MFVP flicks the switch on opening day, May 4, 2015

Tea factory photo2

Equipment in the factory came from Mandalay