Tapioca needs market promotion to penetrate more foreign markets

February 23,2022

MYANMAR can ship only a small volume of tapioca to the external market for now. Efforts are required to hold large market shares, according to Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization. 

At present, dried tapioca is delivered to foreign trade partners. However, the export volume is pretty low to 50 tonnes per month. A tonne of tapioca is worth approximately US$200-250. The foreign market demand is still low. 

Myanmar has been striving for tapioca export to China. Foreign direct investment is invited to manufacture the value-added products of tapioca and to explore markets. 

The tapioca is primarily grown in Kyonpyaw, Yekyi, Ngathainggyoung, Kyaunggon and Thaboung townships in Ayeyawady Region. There are over 30,000 acres of tapioca across the region. The production rate per acre is about 3,500 viss (a viss equals 1.6 kilogrammes). 

Nevertheless, the growers faced hardships owing to the high input cost and price decline of tapioca products in the 2020-2021 Financial Year. The urea fertilizer was earlier worth only K20,000 per bag, whereas the price exorbitantly soared to K80,000. The inadequate amount of fertilizer input led to the drop in a yield rate (2,000 visses per acre). 

Additionally, the market is depending on the local consumers and the feed processing factories. The prices of tapioca decreased from K103 to K80 per viss at present. Similarly, the pric- es of tapioca powder dropped from K850 to K500-550 per viss. 

The price collapse and low market demand prompted some growers to turn to other crops this year. The sowing acreage fell by 10,000 accordingly. 

Myanmar has a favourable geographical condition to cultivate tapioca. The commercial farming of tapioca is found in Ayeyawady, Yangon, Bago and Magway regions and Kachin, southern and northern Shan, Kayah and Rakhine states. The residents are engaged in tapioca starch production as well. It Tapioca powder production has export market potential. Myanmar has a favourable land resource to grow tapioca. 

Myanmar, located among the large buyer countries of tapioca, should widely cultivate tapioca as China and India account for 90 per cent of the global demand for tapioca starch. It can raise foreign income for the country. Tapioca can be used in food products, substitutes for wheat flour, medicines, feedstuffs and biofuel. However, it is not highly consumed in the domestic market as residents lack tapioca uses. — NN/GNLM