Anthem Asia Myanmar SME Venture Fund invests over US$1 mln in Shan Orchard’s Hass Avocado Business

ANTHEM Asia Myanmar SME Venture Fund has made its first investment, providing over US$1,000,000 to Shan Orchard Myanmar Ltd. an early-stage agri-business focusing on growing Hass avocados and processing avocado oil.

Shan Orchard, based close to Heho airport near popular Inle Lake, Southern Shan State, is an agriculture services business led by seasoned agri-business entrepreneurs Nathan Naing Winn and New Zealander Daniel Bennett, and local Myanmar female entrepreneur Thel Suu Thinzar Bo.

The investment proceeds will be used for purchasing an avocado oil processing facility; support facilities, acquiring farmland; and working capital. “Shan Orchard offers a first-mover opportunity in a premium agri-product category where Myanmar has many natural advantages,” said Josephine Price, managing director of Anthem Asia Myanmar SME Venture Fund.

“The company’s strong management team that has targeted avocados based on their experience of working in the agriculture sector in Myanmar. The business is driven by rising global demand for avocados both as a healthy food and as a raw product in cosmetics.”

Co-founder Nathan Naing Winn, who has an extensive background in logistics, operations and finance, said: “The avocado oil processing will be running by the end of the year with supplies coming from dozens of local farmers. In future, we will also source international grade avocados from our own plantations.”

The strategy of combining sourcing from its own orchards as well as a properly-managed outgrower program is an attractive model for building sustainable agri-business businesses and for improving rural livelihoods.

Co-founder Daniel Bennett who has extensive experience in early-stage agricultural firms and large established plantation groups across Asia, added: “We will continue to improve quality and consistency of the raw material and process it into commercial quantities of high-quality avocado oil for domestic and overseas customers.”

Shan Orchard is leveraging its management expertise to add value with other higher-value crops: it is trialing higher-value rice types and plans to intercrop other high value products with avocado plants to maximize land use and improve seasonality.

There are some 20,000 areas of avocado cultivation in Myanmar that produce over 10,000 tonnes of avocados annually.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

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