A Facebook search on Healthy and Happy Organic Farm (H2O) redirects to a page that speaks for itself—a basket of greens with hints of yellow, purple and red; vermicompost beds lined-up with egg shells and coconut husks; cultivation rows roofed by solar panels; and faces of their veg-loving superheroes. With a people-planet-profit principle, the small-scale organic family farm has tapped on digital platforms to innovate ways of doing business.
“The e-commerce training program could not have come at a better time,” says Mr. Than Win Aung, Chief Executive Officer of H2O. He shares that H2O’s Facebook page was set-up just days shy of the modular training program on Rural E-commerce Development in Lancang-Mekong Countries in October 2018. Organized by Mekong Institute, with support from the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund and in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand, the training program equipped participants on the trends in rural e-commerce, legislation and best practices, key development factors and business models, tools and techniques in rural e-commerce, and delivery and transaction management of rural e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce. Drawing on these concepts, Mr. Aung conducted market research wherein he identified a more formal category of e-commerce that will enable wider accessibility and increased sales. “Earlier this year, we have registered to Zay Chin to provide consumers online grocery shopping with free delivery,” he adds. This strategy, according to him, poses huge potential in boosting H2O’s current distribution to food and beverage businesses, hotel chains, farmer outlets and weekend markets in Myanmar.
Not only did Mr. Aung upgrade his own business but more importantly, he leveraged on MI’s training program as an opportunity for knowledge transfer and intersectoral collaboration through a series of trainings and workshops. One of which involved addressing a 190-strong crowd at the National Workshop on Rural E-commerce Development in Myanmar, co-organized by his fellow MI alumni. At an even broader scale, Mr. Aung remains committed to promoting rural e-commerce development in his stint as vice president of the E-commerce Association of Myanmar. The association sets out to harness the digital economy through information-sharing and capacity building on e-commerce, guided by the collective voice of SMEs, e-commerce service providers, logistics service providers and e-commerce related institutions in the country.