SINGAPORE - Mr Khaw wrote that Myanmar, which used to be a major rice exporter, is a "nearby and fertile country". He added that the Government had led a business delegation to Myanmar last year, and AVA will also facilitate partnerships between the two countries, including transferring technical expertise.
Mr Khaw's full blog entry is as follows:
More Food from Myanmar
Just now in Parliament, SPS Dr Maliki spoke about how AVA works closely with our food industry to diversify our food sources. We conduct regular overseas trade missions to potential sources such as Vietnam and Myanmar, and further away such as South America.
We are particularly hopeful of Myanmar becoming a good food source for us. It is nearby and a fertile country. It used to be a major rice exporter in the past.
With this in mind, SMS Lee Yi Shyan led a business delegation to Myanmar last year. One possible item is vegetables. Already, some traders in the delegation are keen to bring in chillies, to test our local market's reception. AVA will also facilitate partnerships between Singaporean farmers and Myanmar supply chain partners.
Another potential item is seafood. The Myanmar seafood sector is well developed, and if prices are competitive, our traders will be keen. Though I do not promote the eating of salted tuna fish (from health view point), I certainly recall growing up eating salted fish from Myanmar, then called Burma! One of my favourites then was curry salted tuna fish, with long beans.
While there are some concerns about inadequate/lack of suitable infrastructure, Myanmar holds a lot of promise. Through more exchanges and transfer of technical expertise from AVA, I believe Myanmar farmers will, over time, be able to increase their food exports to Singapore. Our traders can also help support technology transfers to achieve win-win outcomes.
Expect to see more Myanmar vegetables and seafood on our dining tables.