Japan’s cold chain logistics helps Pyin Oo Lwin farmers
JAPANESE cold chain logistics expertise is buoying the spirits of strawberry farmers in Myanmar, radically reducing damage from poor transportation methods and heat before produce is delivered to consumers in Yangon.
Refrigerated trucks supplied by Premium Sojitz Logistics Co, a Japan-myanmar joint venture, transport strawberries daily from Pyin Oo Lwin in Mandalay Region at temperatures that never exceed 8 C.
The city near Mandalay is known for the country’s largest strawberry fields, but the fruit has long been stored along with luggage on longhaul buses before being delivered to a wholesale market in Yangon.
Japanese trading house Sojitz Corp group established the joint venture in 2015 with Premium Distribution Co, a subsidiary of retail and logistics firm City Mart Holding Co, to help the Myanmar partner modernise its wholesale operations.
Ichiro Uesawa, managing director of the joint venture, has arranged for Myanmar strawberry farmers to visit Japan to show them the integrated food cold chain from fruit producers through retail outlets.
Nay Lin Tun, a 33-year-old farmer, expressed a keen interest in Japan’s modern logistics know-how. The adoption of refrigerated transportation is “rewarding as we suffer less product losses than before,” he said.
His strawberries are now sold at high-end supermarkets in Yangon, gaining a favorable reputation among consumers. He plans to switch the current strawberry varieties to sweeter Taiwanese ones next season.
Saw Tun Min Kyaw, Pyin Oo Lwin’s biggest strawberry farmer who boasts a daily shipment of up to 3 tonnes, credits the Japanese refrigerated transport technology with equalising the quality of strawberries and sharply limiting the losses from an average 25 percent loss of shipments in the past.
Premium Sojitz Logistics now collects nearly 60 percent of the total strawberry shipments from farmers in the city, formerly known as Maymyo, Uesawa said.
He also said his joint venture has decided to start exporting Myanmar strawberries by air to Thailand in January next year. He added that the firm has also received inquiries about the transportation of vegetables and fresh flowers in Myanmar.
– Mami Saito, Nna/kyodo