Markets in Myanmar: what's your take?

Reply on DGroups | 5 comments

How are markets and prices evolving in different regions of Myanmar as the situation escalates?

April 5, 2021, 12:35 p.m.

Noor Alam Khan

Hi Louisa,
I referred your question to one of my colleagues who is in Myanmar and
sharing her response as below. She is based out of Yangon and coordinates
SUN Business Network. Let me know if you need to connect with her to get
further updates.


Noor Alam Khan
PSED Professional
Pakistan and Myanmar

Hi Noor,

*Thank you for sharing. I would really appreciate it if you kindly let me
know about the D group?*

*I can provide a few points for the update as below. *

- *Myanmar relies on Chinese agri-food products because Chinese due to
low prices. Myanmar farmers can not compete with such a kind of products
even though they produce their local food with the standard for GAP.*
- *Now Myanmar people doing a peaceful protest in which people start
refusing to buy or use Chinese goods and start encouraging the Myanmar
local agri-food products instead. (I think this is one of the points we
should consider)*
- *And this period of April, May is the season of garlic, onion, potato
and other vegetables especially in the Shan state and dry zone. Then,
farmers have to sell those and save cash for the upcoming rice farming in
the rainy season.*
- *If we are able to support some facilities including storage,
transportation and distribution for those local agri-food products (linkage
to the market) especially in the current situation, it would be really
great. (as when I had discussed with MFVP, they said that their
farmers/agri-food producers not only require technical assistance for food
safety also for the facilities support for healthy and safe food production
and distribution for market access)*
- *In addition to that, most of the agri-loan support to our farmers
(which had initiated since COVID time) almost pending at this stage and the
coup has been so effective that the draw has twice been postponed.
Limitation on bank transaction and restrictions on cash withdraw by the
central bank are becoming the major challenges. *
- *Food and commodity prices are also rising, making it harder for
people to buy what they need with what money they have.*

Noor Alam Khan
Private Sector Development Professional

April 2, 2021, 12:56 p.m.

[Hidden email]

Corrie and Louisa,
I also saw this today on DevEx:

I thought it was interesting how the Development Financial Institutions
were responding...

April 1, 2021, 2:30 p.m.

[Hidden email]

Corrie and Louisa,
It's from April 2020 (so not related to recent events...) but I thought this
<https: diary-of-a-myanmar-based-agri-focused-fsp-responding-to-the-covid-19-crisis="""">
had some interesting insights on what happened with regulatory policy of
MFIs post-COVID, which might shed some insight on liquidity now... it
particularly looks at agriculture businesses and financial service

Would love to hear if anyone has more recent experiences or thoughts...

March 30, 2021, 4:48 p.m.

Corrie Sissons

Hi Louisa and all,
Yes I've been wondering the same.
In particular are there people out there in the D group who worked on the Syria response where we saw similar issues with regulatory restrictions on the banking sector? I know NGOs starting thinking outside of the box in that response and use 'informal' networks (Hawala etc) to move cash into the country. There is a similar mechanism in Asia called 'Hundi' but am not sure to what extent this is a feasible option in Myanmar.
It would be great to hear from any colleagues who have found ways of doing/continuing market based programming in Myanmar at the moment or who have useful experience to share of implementing MBP in a context where the banking sector is restricted making it difficult to transfer money into or around the country.


Corrie Sissons
Technical Advisor - Cash and Markets | Humanitarian Response Department | Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Email: | Skype: corriesissons
Mobile (UK): + 44 7729629852

March 30, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

Louisa Seferis

Hello MiC community of practice,

I hope you are all doing as well as possible given the circumstances, staying positive and testing negative...

As the situation in Myanmar escalates and dominates the news, it would be useful to hear how people are seeing markets and prices evolving in different regions. The WFP Market monitoring in February painted a bleak picture, and the New Humanitarian's article about issues of liquidity adds to the concerning situation (links below).
- What have you observed with markets and prices? What concerns you the most?
- What/how are you planning to respond or adjust your programmes?
- What gives you hope for market-based programming?
Links here:

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you!

Louisa M Seferis
Independent Consultant
cash · markets · livelihoods · human-centred design
[Hidden email]