The Myanmar office recently said good bye to another volunteer, Brian Flanagan, here by way
Comparing mangoes that did not employ carbon-paper bags to protect them from fruit flies (green) with bagged mangoes (yellow)
of Cornell University. Brian spent two weeks in Yangon and Mandalay, where he sampled the local culture (and many a mango along the way). In partnership with the Myanmar Fruit, Flower, & Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association, he advised local mango farmers on improving their post-harvest techniques, quality, and quantity, and how to increase value-added products.
Brian Flanagan in front of a mango cart coming in from the field for distribution and processing
Brian in his own words: “I enjoyed getting a taste of Myanmar in the short time I was here. I was amazed by the history, natural resources, and culture of the country which most Americans know little about (including me before my assignment). I was pleasantly surprised [by] how welcoming and cheerful people were, from the people I interacted with in the trainings to the random fruit vendors on the street I bought fruit from. I cannot think of any other place that I have traveled to that the people have been as friendly as in Myanmar.
Spooning cooked mango out to dry, the last step in making mango leather. The drying process can take several days, depending on the weather. (Photo: Yee Yee Thant)
For my assignment I was impressed by the Myanmar mango varieties. Knowing I was going to be near the origin of mango I thought they would be good and I was not disappointed. Many of the cultivars have great taste and texture which competes with any other mangos I have had.
I was also happy to learn about the international market available to Myanmar throughout Asia… With some work on improving and maintaining mango fruit quality, along with marketing, there is a lot of potential. I have no doubt that with the quality people I meet working on production, processing, and exporting that the industry will continue to grow both locally and internationally in the years to come. I hope I have an opportunity to come back to see how the industry continues to progress.”
Final stop: purchasing mango leather to bring back to the office (photo: Brian Flanagan)
Both the local office and the farmers hope Brian can return as well. Until then, lank kha yee chaw mwe bar say (safe travels)!