Bui Tran Nhu Phuong

Inclusive Business model built on solar dryer dome in Myanmar’s market

East Asia and Pacific
5. Dec 2017

For introduction of the solar dryer dome, please refer to this blog post.

It all started with a public-private-partnership project called Economic Transformation through Food Security, or in short WeCare. The project was co-financed by DEG KfW and Covestro, implemented in three countries: Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar. It brought solar dryer dome models to 12 low-income communities in rural areas of the above-mentioned countries.

In Myanmar, two of three communities received the solar dryer domes (SDD) grow and dry chili pepper for both domestic use and commercial sale. During one year of drying activities, the feedback from the communities was always positive:

  • The color of the chili dried inside the solar dryer dome was more vibrant and brighter than the one dried with conventional method;
  • The drying period was cut short by 50%;
  • The spoilage/loss was significantly reduced: from 30% to 10% of the final total dried products.



Inclusive Business of Covestro took on the task of scaling up this solution after the project was closed in June 2017. After the installation of the dryer though, the challenge of establishing the linkage between these farmers and the market still persisted. However, early in 2017, Natural Farm Fresh Myanmar (NFFM), a newly founded social enterprise in Yangon by Burmese entrepreneurs who are passionate about and determined in developing the potential of their country’s agriculture sector, contacted Inclusive Business of Covestro to initiate partnership after they had observed the operation of the solar dryer dome on the ground. After more than half a year discussing and drawing up a memorandum of agreement in full speed, the two parties finalized their partnership in scaling up the model of solar dryer dome in Myanmar.

Only a few months after the agreement signing ceremony between NFFM and Covestro, four mid-size SDDs (8m x 12m) were already installed and went into full operation. Five more are on the way to the ground in January 2018. Two are from SME owners drying gingers and vegetables in Yangon and Tet Kone. The remaining three will be built under grants from Responsible Business Fund (RBF) from the Government of Denmark to NFFM for processing safe, clean, and hygienic chili in the central of Myanmar.


Photo by Natural Farm Fresh Myanmar, http://www.facebook.com/N.Farm.Fresh.Myanmar

In November 2017, NFFM nominated and introduced four farmer cooperatives to RBF grant. If they receive the grant in February 2018, with the SDDs installed, these cooperatives will dry tea, coffee, ginger and herbs. Moreover, NFFM is also likely to be assigned as a Service Provider and an Equipment Supplier of SDD in Myanmar.

“We have presented our SDD in brochures, seminars, and we invited them (farmers) to send their trial products to NFFM's Solar Dryer in Myittha. Then we observe the end products together, we learn from each other and find the way to improve end products. NFFM’s showcase of 4 SDDs in Myittha plays a vital role for winning trust from farmers. Seeing is believing. NFFM introduces the farmers to RBF and assists them in preparation of their proposals to meet their need of drying problem.” – Mr. Nay Oo, Managing Director and Founder of NFFM shared about how the social enterprise engages farmers in the production.

NFFM also has a verbal agreement with Ayeyarwaddy Farmers Development Bank to provide farmers SDDs with hire purchase basis for 3 years. A link has been established among SMEs, farmers, farmer cooperatives, NGOs, and some corporations to market their products.

In the effort of opening a pathway for Myanmar’s exported goods, NFFM have received visitors from JGC Corporation (Japan), Daesang (South Korea), and Metro (Germany) to see the SDDs as well as their products of dried chili.

At the moment, NFFM shows the chili market that we can overcome the fungus (Aflatoxin) problem by a proper drying process and reducing the moisture content after the harvest. It draws public attention and motivates people from outside of chili industry to invest in chili business.

“Our biggest challenge is to cope up with the rate of growth of the business in terms of 3M - men, material, and money.” – Mr. Nay Oo also said.

NFFM believes that SDD technology is a basic but essential for all due to several reasons:

  1. Now, food security and safety is the headline in Myanmar daily newspaper. SDD will contribute to providing clean, hygienic, and healthy food.
  2. High-quality and locally produced products by NFFM can compete with imported foreign products and will reserve their rare foreign earnings. In the long run, they can export back to foreign countries with good and quality foods.
  3. Due to value added products and better drying efficiency, income of farmers and farmer cooperatives will certainly increase.
  4. By employing the SDD in post-harvesting process of chili, jobs can be created in specific areas and people are trained with better knowledge to use equipment and new processing methods.

Further inquiry about SDD and high-quality dried chili in Myanmar, please contact:

Mr. Nay Oo - nfarmfreshmd@gmail.com

General information inquiry about the SDD, please contact:

Ms. Bui Tran Nhu Phuong – phuong.bui@covestro.com