January 31, 2019
Gail Marzetti, Head of DFID in Myanmar
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Thank you honoured guests.
My name is Gail Marzetti and I am the Head of the UK Department for International Development here in Myanmar. DFID leads the UK government’s work to fight poverty around the world as well as here in Myanmar.
I am really excited to be here today to launch these projects. Investing in businesses like Pragma Ventures and Sense Organics is a core part of our strategy to reduce poverty in Myanmar.
Great companies like these are so important to create change in this country – we all know that companies – small or large – have a huge impact on the community. They create jobs and raise incomes. Dynamic companies don’t only create jobs for the people they employ, but they also have a galvanising impact on local economies – increasing incomes and prosperity throughout the community. Good business are also a force for good – setting an example of respect, inclusion and cohesion in the community.
So we are delighted to be to be working with you and DaNa to invest in models of inclusive business – models we believe have the potential to transform the Myanmar economy – creating jobs, raising incomes and improving lives across the country.
We are also pleased to be investing in the textile industry. This is an old industry, but one with exciting new opportunities. Myanmar has long been associated with beautiful high quality textiles – with a long history of production across the country from Shan to Chin and Naga.
But this is also an industry for the future – Myanmar exports of Cotton to China have almost tripled between 2014 and 2017 as Chinese demand has boomed – and increased tariffs on American cotton coming into China could increase demand further and faster.
So investing into Pragma Ventures and Sense Organics is good for business and the economy, good for the community, and a powerful tool to reduce poverty.
Our new project with Pragma Ventures will create a commercially successful silk textile business built on high quality exports, and branded silk products into the home furnishings and interiors market in Europe, North America and Australia. The project will provide a sustainable livelihood to many farmers in Chin and weavers in Chin and Yangon, and offer ‘work with dignity’ to disadvantaged women.
Myanmar was once a hub for quality silk production, with climate and environmental conditions providing a flourishing environment for sericulture. The project seeks to revitalise this industry in Chin state and ensure a steady supply of domestic silk both to local artisans, and Pragma’s weaving enterprise.
Addressing organic cotton production, Sense Organics will work to build up the non-Genetically Modified Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton supply in Myanmar to meet global customers’ market demand, while positively impacting farmers and the environment.
Sense Organics believes there is an opportunity in Myanmar to produce organic cotton as the global demand is high and Myanmar is well positioned to produce raw organic cotton.
They are working to achieve this through training, product development, and forging better links to new markets for their products.
By working to improve the quality of textiles produced in Myanmar, while also increasing the skills of farmers involved in the high value supply chains, we want to help small holder farmers and low-income producers across the country to increase their income and the prosperity of their families and communities.
I want to thank everyone here for your support that is so important to make sure these projects are a success. Thank you to Pragma Ventures and Sense Organics – we really look forward to this partnership. And thank you to DaNa for all your hard work in making this happen.