Revenue from Myanmar's fruit exports have reached US$370 million in the current fiscal year, which is on par with revenues generated over the same period in the previous fiscal year despite COVID-19, according to the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association.
This was due to higher demand from China for good quality Myanmar bananas produced from local tissue culture, which offset a decline in exports of other fruits like watermelons and cucumbers.
In fact, if it wasn't for COVID-19, Myanmar could have enjoyed a net increase in fruit export revenues this year if proper storage facilities had been available at the Myanmar-China border to store fruits while traders waited to clear longer procedures and other delays due to the pandemic.
"Our fruit export income would have increased by a lot more if we had a better system to manage wastage at the border. Currently, about 80 percent of locally produced fruit has gone to waste as a result of disruptions from COVID-19," said Daw Sandar Myo, secretary of the association.
Fruits are mainly exported to China at the border. Before COVID-19, watermelons and cucumbers were the main fruit exports and revenue had been on the rise each year due to increasing demand.
This year, the decline in exports of watermelons and cucumbers was offset by a surge in demand for bananas at the start of the year, said U Khin Maung Lwin, assistant secretary of the Ministry of Commerce.
Mmtimes.com reported that during the first few months of the year, Myanmar exported 75,000 tonnes of locally cultured bananas at the border, raking in US$300 million in revenue compared to 70,000 tonnes exported the whole of last year for $290 million, according to official data.
Total trading income at the border currently amounts to about $2.3 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.