China-produced rotten potato sale on the rise

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Bags of potatoes at the Bayintnaung depot.

The Bayintnaung Wholesale Centre received six 12-wheeled trucks carrying China-produced potatoes on Sunday and it included rotten potatoes, said the workers.
“The potato bags contain rotten potatoes. They cannot be sold in the market and so they (wholesalers) hire daily-wage workers and separate the good ones and bad ones,” said worker Ko Thant Zin Tun.
The operation starts at 7 am and ends at 4 pm. A female worker gets only K6,500/7,000. A potato wholesale centre has about 200 bags of fine potatoes and they resell a 15-viss bag of rotten potatoes at K2,500/3,000, said Ma Aye Min, potato dealer from Hlinethaya Township.
“A 15-viss bag of rotten potatoes is priced at K2,500/2,000. We clean and peel the rotten potatoes and sell them at morning and evening markets. Most of the people living from hand to mouth buy them,” she said.
In the market, the price of potatoes is between K1,300 and K1,500. The people can get the purified rotten potatoes at cheap prices but it is not nutritious enough, said health worker Ko Aung Myo.
“In 2000, the potatoes from Hsinbyukyun got rotten at Bayintnaung jetty and were thrown into the water,” said purchaser Ko Pyae.
The Bayintnaung Wholesale Centre receives about 50,000 tonnes of potatoes per day recently and 60,000 tonnes just on Sunday. In May, the China-produced potato (fom sandy land) entered the Yangon market and the Aungban potato and China potato with red colour entered in June second week.
“We clean the rotten potatoes and blow out with the fan. The colour changes into scarlet/brown. We reduce the prices and sell to resellers. Although we do not face losses at all, we see only a few profits,” said potato wholesale centre staff Ko Tun Tun.
On 13 June, the prices of potatoes in the Yangon market were K1,300 per viss of China potato and K1,450-1,500 per viss of Heho Shan black potato, said potato purchaser Ko Aung Lin.
On 13 June 2020, the price of China potato was K700 per viss and Shan potato was priced at K550-570-520-550. On 12 June 2021, the Shan potato price was only K330-480-400-430.
The price of potato is highest on 13 June this year compared to the same period of three successive years. — TWA/GNLM

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