The introduction ceremony for the “Tha Bar Wa” project, a clean production initiative in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, was launched at Rose Garden Hotel, Yangon, on 29 May.
The project is funded by the European Union (EU) under the SWITCH-Asia programme. The project started in February 2018 and will continue up to January 2022, led by World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, in partnership with the Myanmar Food Processors and Exporters Association (MFPEA) and the Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC).
The clean production initiative began by providing training to the Myanmar F&B companies on technical knowledge and the skills required to run a sustainable and environment-friendly business. Tha Bar Wa will facilitate access to finance and promote policies that encourage the adoption of sustainable water and energy management practices.
The project will be jointly implemented by F&B companies, local consultants, experts and local banks, in cooperation with the ministries concerned.
Some 200 SMEs in the F&B industry and associated business intermediaries gained knowledge and the capacity to implement cleaner production technology, while 30 SMEs implemented cleaner production measures and processes and showed 20 per cent improvement in water and energy consumption and discharge performance. A pool of 10 local consultants were trained and provided high quality services to SMEs for the implementation of cleaner technologies, three financial institutions have enhanced their capacity leading to green technology investments, and 60 bank officers were trained and equipped with theoretical and practical skills on SME lending.
The cleaner production model will be replicated in other regions and the lessons shared across Southeast Asia.
The F&B industry is the largest in Myanmar, accounting for almost 60 per cent of the companies. There are over 27,000 registered F&B factories across the country. Among them, only five per cent have a functioning wastewater treatment system.
According to the 2018 WWF report, industrial wastewater pollution was found to pose the greatest risk to the fresh water ecosystem in Myanmar.
By May Thet Hnin