CHIN State’s elephant foot yam, which has already penetrated external markets, is offered at K950 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kilogrammes) by the Shwenayon yam factory near Ngaphaungkan village, Pakokku Township.
ge, Pakokku Township. “I sold approximately 2,000 visses of fresh yam. I have been executing this business for five years. I harvested them after three years of planting. I receive a handsome profit of K6 million after excluding the input costs, wages and transport charges. The price of yam touched the highest of K1,850 in the previous years. This year, it fetches around K950 per viss in Pakokku Township. It is priced above K1,000 per viss in the northern Chin State. We are expecting the recovery of tourism business and the good price,” a seller from Mindat Township, Chin State quoted in his sayings.
“We established the yam processing factory about three years ago. We primarily purchase them from Mindat and Kanpetlet townships in southern Chin State. We have started buying them from February, with a daily trading volume of 3,000-10,000 visses. Those yams are commonly shipped to China and the Republic of Korea; therefore, the price fluctuates on the demand. The processing includes rinsing, cutting, chopping, slicing and drying. Finally, they are made into powder. The dried yam is priced at K6,500 per viss. Foreign countries produce them by adding value to snacks, noodles and medicines, etc. It is lowfat food and has many health benefits. There are also value-added products of yam as well. However the yams are not that popular in the country as local people do not know the health benefits of elephant foot yams,” said U Pyae Sone Aung, in charge of the Shwenayon factory.
Yam production has become a lucrative business. According to Myanmar Fruit, Flower, and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association, Myanmar is mostly exporting only raw yam, and value-added products made from yam will help the market grow in the long term. Myanmar is only producing semi-processed yams at present.
Elephant foot yams are the main product of Chin State, where they are cultivated on over 8,800 acres of land. The Kanpetlet, Mindat, and Matupi townships produce about 1 million visses (a viss is equal to 1.6 kilogrammes) of elephant foot yams. Elephant foot yams can be planted across the country. In addition to Chin State, yams are being grown in Kayin, Mon, and Shan states, and Taninthayi and Bago regions.
Yams produced in Chin State are getting a higher price than those from other regions as they have better quality and taste, traders said. — Salai Ko Kee, KK/GNLM