Enterprising Young Woman Expands Her Agro-Input Business

Nay Nay Tun stands in front of her Agro-Input Shop.

Nay Nay Tun is an agro-input retailer in Phayar Gyi in the Bago Region of Myanmar. She is a young woman from an agribusiness family (her father farms rice on 25 acres, and her brother is a gram merchant). Her father encouraged her to open an agro-input shop because there was only one in Bago town. When she started at the age of 20 in 2004, she did not have much business or technical experience, but she is hard working and continuously expanded her agricultural knowledge so she could better serve her farmer customers. She asked her input suppliers to provide her technical training as well as goods on credit.

In 2016, Nay Nay was able to partner with IFDC’s Fertilizer Sector Improvement (FSI+) Project, which is funded by USAID. The project’s goal is to increase incomes and enhance food security for smallholder farmers in target districts in Myanmar. The project trains agro-input retailers with the aim to transform them from simple family shops into modern one-stop agribusiness stores, where farmers can come to buy appropriate inputs and learn good agricultural practices (GAPs) from the store owners. In addition, the retail trainees learn advanced business management practices, such as marketing, management, and bookkeeping.

“I heard about and then attended a six-day FSI training program that included business management and accounting,” says Nay Nay. “The information really helped me set the stage for major expansion. The training inspired many ideas on ways to improve my business. Since then my sales have increased by over 30%.” Under her leadership, her shop is growing, with sales of fertilizer for rice production leading the way.

Nay Nay is now the largest of eight dealers in the town, and she employs 8 full-time staff. Her best profit margin is on crop protection products, for which she provides protective gloves and masks at no additional cost.

Nay Nay attributes her success to building trust with farmers by carrying quality products and by extending credit. “Farmers are our top priority, and I always provide my customers with good products and advice. I have to ensure that the inputs I purchase from suppliers are high quality, cost effective, and environmentally safe. I also test the products on my father’s farm before I sell them,” she remarked.

She added that “With the help of the agribusiness supply companies, our retail store organizes farmer training events for season to improve our customers’ agricultural knowledge. We invite 400-500 farmers to join our training, and offer them T-shirts, fertilizer packets and lucky draws.”

Nay Nay reports that her business keeps growing, and with that growth her support to farmers: “Currently, I plan to open new agro-input shops at the end of August 2019 to extend my products to rural areas, and I have a plan to rent my warehouse space to my customers at an affordable cost. We are almost finished building a large modern store over three times the size of my current one. The additional sales volume will enable me to buy at a lower price and pass on the savings to customers. I am putting into practice what I learned from the IFDC project trainers.”

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