Edible Oil Consumption in Myanmar: Per Capita Consumption, Edible Oil Types and Regional Differences

Edible Oil Consumption in Myanmar: Per Capita Consumption, Edible Oil Types and Regional Differences

Published: 2022.07.13
Accepted: 2022.07.13
30
Research Fellow
Department of Agricultural Economics, Yezin Agricultural University, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
Professor
Department of Agricultural Economics Yezin Agricultural University, Myanmar
Assistant Lecturer
Department of Agricultural Economics, Yezin Agricultural University
Assistant Lecturer
Yezin Agricultural University, Myanmar
Demonstrators Department of Agricultural Economics, Yezin Agricultural University, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
Demonstrator
Department of Agricultural Economics, Myanmar
Demonstrator
Department of Agricultural Economics, Myanmar

ABSTRACT

This study was conducted to analyze the edible oil consumption in Myanmar. A total of 3,945 households from 15 regions/states of Myanmar were surveyed in November 2021. The annual edible oil consumption per capita of the whole country was 14.39 kg and found to be increased nearly 64% over the last two decades. This consumption growth rate should alarm the policy makers to increase measures for public health awareness and formulate strategies to increase alignment between domestic demand and supply. Sagaing Region has the highest per capita edible oil consumption rate with 21.18 kg while Tanintharyi Region has the lowest per capita consumption rate with 10.00 kg annually. Among the whole country, peanut oil and vegetable oil are highly consumed while mustard oil and olive oil are the least consumed. Highest peanut oil consumption is found in Kayah State, vegetable oil consumption in Mon State and palm oil consumption in Ayeyarwady Region. The consumption of mix oil is the highest in Naypyitaw Region, sesame oil consumption in Magway Region, sunflower oil consumption in Chin State, and mustard oil consumption in Kachin State. Olive oil consumption is reported only in Yangon Region. Throughout the country, vegetable oil consumption is the highest and accounts for 27% in total consumption while peanut oil consumption is the second highest with 25%. Therefore, the policy makers need to properly monitor the quality, safety, nutritional, and health aspects of these increasingly consumed vegetable oils.

Keywords: Edible oils, per capita edible oil consumption, Myanmar, edible oil types

INTRODUCTION

Edible oil consumption has both health and economic implications. Edible oil is the essential part of the diet. However, the over and under consumption of oil can have harmful effects on human health. Without the updated and reliable data on edible oil consumption rate per capita, the experts, public nutritionists and public health authorities would not be able to provide health related policies and advice. If the trend in edible oil consumption rate is identified, the health experts would be able to make research-based analysis on its implications on health and therefore, provide appropriate interventions. Comparing the regional differences in oil consumption will specify the regions where the particular attention should be given.

By obtaining the realistic database on edible oil consumption per capita that represent the whole country, the edible oil quantity required for the country’s population can be calculated. This data will help the related government institutions and its policy makers in regulating the edible oil sector within the country. For example, in terms of preventing oil shortage, factors like sufficiency status, self-sufficiency policy, edible oil price control, monitoring domestic supply and international trade flow etc., come into play. In addition, by acknowledging the consumer preferences of different oil types, the specific oil types that are dominating the market can be analyzed that will help calculate the local demand and market opportunities. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to conduct a consumption survey in Myanmar to better understand consumption rate, the domestic market, and regional differences. The following are the objectives of this study:

  1. To estimate the per capita edible oil consumption of different regions/states of Myanmar; and
  2. To analyze the different types of edible oils consumed in different regions/states of Myanmar.

METHODOLOGY

Study sites for data collection

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar comprises 15 states and regions namely, Kachin State, Kayah State, Kayin State, Chin State, Mon State, Rakhine State, Shan State, Tanintharyi Region, Ayeyarwady Region, Yangon Region, Bago Region, Mandalay Region, Magway Region, Sagaing Region and Naypyitaw Region as shown in Figure 1. A total of 42 townships from these 15 states/regions were selected in this study. 

Data collection and analysis

Data collection was undertaken in November 2021 by a structured questionnaire which was developed and modified based on the previous edible oil consumption pilot study by Thi Thi Soe et al., (2021) for the survey. The local agricultural officers of Department of Agriculture from the selected townships were appointed as enumerators for data collection. The trainings and instructions for data collection were provided by the research team from the Department of Agricultural Economics of the Yezin Agricultural University (YAU).

As shown in Table 1, the sample respondents from the rural and urban areas of these townships were selected using simple random sampling. A total 3,945 respondents in this study representing various parts of the whole country are expected to be from diverse populations which are comprised of different income levels, occupation types, and rural/urban residence. The potential respondents were based on the fact that they are the main household members managing food at the households to collect data on edible oil consumption amount and food expense. The potential participants were self-selected with a voluntary way in as much as they choose to participate or not.  The enumerators visited the households, explained the purpose of the study, and solicited their voluntary participation. If the respondent agreed to be involved in the study, the interview was conducted using the structured questionnaire.

YAU research team collated the transmitted data and conducted data cleansing. Analysis of the data, the interpretation and the writing were then carried out. Descriptive analyses (group-level) were used to generate the sample characteristics. Several ethical issues were considered throughout the study such as the respondents’ voluntary participation, questions posed to be non-personal in nature, confidentiality to be achieved by assigning a code to protect the respondents’ identity and the data to be accumulated to a group level.

Adult equivalent

In this study, the edible oil consumption per capita was calculated by the amount of household edible oil consumption and the total adult equivalent number of the household members. As shown in Table 2, the adult equivalent ratio 0.7 is assigned for an adult who is 60 years old and above, and for a child who is between 9 and 2 years old, 1.0 is assigned for people who are between 59 and 19 years old, 1.1 is assigned for people who are between 18 and 10 years old and 0.5 is assigned for a child who is under one year old.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Sociodemographic characteristics of respondents of selected households

The average age of the respondents among the 3,945 studied population was 47 years with a standard deviation of 12.25. The household size ranged from 1 to 15 and the average was 4 persons among the respondent households (Table 3). Urban residents represented 56.17% of the study population while 43.83% were from rural areas. The female ratio among the respondents was found to be 89.56% as the survey was intended to interview the people who manage the food in their respective households (Table 3). This indicated that nearly 90% of the people responsible for food preparation and cooking at the household level were women in Myanmar. Among the 1,321 of the respondents who owns agricultural lands, the average farm sizes were 2.57 hectares and ranging from 0.04 to 32.37 hectares.

The respondents were also categorized according to their education levels. The educational level was divided into five. These includes primary school level where schooling usually takes 5 years, secondary school level where schooling usually takes up to 9 years, high school level where schooling usually takes up to 11 years and graduate level where the respondents have received education from the university. Illiterate education level means those respondents who cannot read and write. Very few respondents, only 2.21% were illiterate. The primary school level respondents represent 33.71% of the total respondents while the secondary school level respondents were 26.36 % (Table 3). Among the respondents, 16.43% of them have high school level education while 21.29% have primary school level education. The average monthly income of the respondents was US$170.32 and ranging from US$16.22 to US$1,810.81. Based on the categories of occupation, 33.49% were farmers, 17.47% worked in private sector, 13.21% were employed by the public sector while the rest 35.84% were doing housework (Table 3).

Annual per capita consumption of edible oil according to different regions and states

In this study, the total household member population of the 3,945 surveyed households was 16,911. The total adult equivalent population was 15,935. The total edible oil consumption of these households was 19,109.77 kg monthly. Therefore, the per capita monthly consumption was 1.199 kg and the annual per capita edible oil consumption was 14.39 kg. According to the CSO Statistical Yearbook, it was 9.2 kg in 2001. Raphy Favre and Kyaw Myint (2009) estimated that the annual edible oil consumption growth rate in Myanmar is nearly 3% in their report. Their estimation is plausible and nearly consistent with the finding from this study as the rate is increased from 9.2 kg in 2001 to 14.39 kg in 2021. Therefore, over the last two decades, the per capita edible oil consumption has increased nearly 64 %.

The descriptions of annual per capita consumption of edible oil based on different regions are shown in Table 4. In terms of average annual per capita consumption rate, Naypyitaw, Chin, Sagaing, Magway and Mandalay region are the highest among the whole country with 17.75, 17.47, 21.18, 18.83, and 19.78 Kg per capita, respectively. The minimum consumption rates of these regions are also the highest compared to other regions. These high consumption rates are expected to be contributed by the fact that Sagaing, Magway and Mandalay regions have the largest growing areas of oilseed crops compare to other regions. In addition, these regions also have the highest oilseed crops productions (Moh Moh et al., 2021). The calculated per capita consumption rate for Naypyitaw Region is consistent with the rate reported in the pilot research of Thi Thi Soe et al., (2021). Tanintharyi, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine and Kachin states have the lowest average per capita consumption rate with 10.00, 11.88, 11.24, 10.50 and 11.00 kg, respectively. Sagaing Region has the highest per capita edible oil consumption rate while Tanintharyi Region has the lowest per capita consumption rate.

These regional differences in consumption rates are expected to be contributed by the physical and social factors. The physical factors such as climatic conditions, land-use, agro-ecological and geographical features, local edible oil supply and social factors such as socioeconomic conditions, ethnicity, and regional and cultural culinary habits may influence the difference in per capita edible oil consumption rates. In addition, Raphy Favre and Kyaw Myint (2009) stated that the price transparency, color, taste, smell processing, labelling, and quality control are the factors that may influence consumer choices of different oil types.

Average annual per capita consumption of edible oil in kilograms among different states and regions of Myanmar are shown in Figure 2. As demonstrated by the colours, the high consumption rate per capita were found in the central dry zone and north-western part of the country. The southern, northernmost, and western coast part of the country have low consumption rate per capita. The eastern, and southwestern part of the country have medium consumption rate per capita. 

Different types of edible oil consumed in Myanmar

Peanut oil, sesame oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, soybean oil, mustard oil and mix oil are the top 9 edible oil types usually consumed in Myanmar. As shown in Figure 3, in the whole country, vegetable oil is the highest consumed oil type with 27% of the total respondents consuming at the time of survey. Peanut oil consumption is the second highest with 25% of the respondents. This is followed by mix oil and palm oil which are consumed by 15% and 12% of the total respondents. Sesame oil and sunflower oil are also consumed by 8% and 7% of the respondents, respectively.

In terms of regions and states, peanut oil consumption is the highest in Kayah State where 61% of the respondents indicated consumption of peanut oil as shown in Figure 4. In contrast, it is the lowest in Tanintharyi Region where only 1% of the respondents were found to be consuming peanut oil. Vegetable oil consumption is the lowest in Kayah State with 6% of the respondents consuming and highest in Mon State with 69% of the respondents indicating vegetable oil consumption.

In Ayeyarwady Region, 45% of the respondents consumed palm oil making it the highest palm oil consumed region. Yangon region is the second highest palm oil consumption; however, no consumption was reported in Chin, Kayah, Kayin State and Tanintharyi Region. It is important to note that despite no palm oil consumption was reported, Tanintharyi Region has 160,273 hectares of palm oil cultivation areas (Moh Moh et al., 2021).

The consumption of mix oil was the highest in Naypyitaw region and no consumption was reported in Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon State and Tanintharyi Region. It is also important to note that Sesame oil consumption was in the highest in Magway Region, sunflower oil consumption was the highest in Chin State. Mustard oil consumption was the highest in Kachin State. This is supported by the findings of (Moh Moh et al., 2021) which stated that mustard is mainly cultivated in Kachin State. In addition, the olive oil consumption was found only in Yangon Region.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

Several regional differences in edible oil consumption in terms of per capita consumption rates and different oil types have been reported in this study. These differences are sometimes attributed by the local availability, for example, the highest edible oil consumption rate per capita was found in Sagaing, Magway and Mandalay where these regions have the largest growing areas of oilseed crops, and the highest oilseed crops productions compared to other regions. On the other hand, the regional differences are sometimes independent of local availability. For example, no palm oil consumption was reported for Tanintharyi region in this study despite the highest palm oil cultivation is located within the region.

Highest peanut oil consumption is found in Kayah State, vegetable oil consumption in Mon State, palm oil consumption in Ayeyarwady Region, mix oil consumption in Naypyitaw region, sesame oil consumption in Magway Region, sunflower oil consumption in Chin State, and mustard oil consumption in Kachin State. Olive oil consumption was reported only in Yangon Region. The factors that influence the different preferences and consumption rates reported by consumers of different regions of Myanmar may also include agro-ecological and geographical features, socioeconomic conditions, ethnicity, and regional and cultural culinary habits.

The per capita consumption of edible oil in Myanmar was found to be increased nearly 64% over the last two decades. This increase in consumption should alarm the policy makers to increase measures for public health awareness and formulate strategies to increase alignment between domestic demand and supply. In addition, in regions such as Sagaing, Mandalay, Magway and Naypyitaw where the per capita edible oil consumption is the highest, the appropriate interventions that aim to reduce edible oil consumption should be conducted.Moreover, in regions such as Ayeyarwady and Yangon where palm oil consumption is the highest, the public awareness programs that aim to reduce palm oil and promote affordable healthy alternative oils consumption should be undertaken.

Vegetable oil consumption is reported to be the highest in this study and accounts for 27% of the total consumption while peanut oil consumption is the second highest with 25% in the total consumption. According to Belton and Win (2019), palm oil consumption is accounted for 33% of the total oil consumption in 2015. In this study, palm oil consumption was reported to be reduced to 12% of the total consumption. Chu Htet Hnin et al., (2021) reported that respondents from Naypyitaw region are mainly consuming palm oil and vegetable oil due to their lower prices compared to other oil types. The reduction in palm oil consumption and increase in vegetable oil consumption indicated that the respondents are shifting focus on the vegetable oil than to palm oil in terms of cheaper edible oils and as the people of Myanmar became to realize the disadvantages of palm oil consumption. However, this increased vegetable oil consumption needs to be properly monitored as it is mainly imported and there is no locally produced vegetable oil (Chu Htet Hnin et al., 2021). It is important that the nutritional, health and safety aspects, quality, and price control, of these imported vegetable oils need to be properly analysed and publicized.

REFERENCES

Belton, B., & Win, M. T. (2019). The Edible Oil Milling Sector in Myanmar's Dry Zone (No. 1879-2020-441).

Chue Htet Hnin, Theingi Myint, Thi Thi Soe, Moh Moh, Cho Zin Win (2021) “Edible oil in the Market, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar: Types, Brands, Market Prices and Consumer Preferences” , FFTC Agricultural Policy Platform, https://ap.fftc.org.tw/article/2928

CSO (Central Statistical Organization), Agriculture Statistics (1992-93 to 2004-2005), Central Statistical Organization, Yangon, Myanmar

Moh Moh, Theingi Myint, Cho Zin Win, Thi Thi Soe, Chue Htet Hnin, Thanda Kyi (2021)  “ Does Myanmar Have Sufficient Edible Oil Production?”, FFTC Agricultural Policy Platform, https://ap.fftc.org.tw/article/2936

Raphy Favre, Kyaw Myint (2009): An Analysis of the Myanmar Edible oil crops sub-sectors. Rural infrastructure and agroindustry division (AGS) food and agriculture organization (FAO) of the United Nations Rome, 2009.

Thi Thi Soe, Theingi Myint, Cho Zin Win, Moh Moh, Chu Htet Hnin, Khin Mar Lay (2021) “Per Capita Edible Oil Consumption in Nay Pyi Taw, FFTC Agricultural Policy Platform, https://ap.fftc.org.tw/article/294

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