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Declining jaggery price hits Ngathayauk toddy-palm climbers

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A toddy tapper collects sap from palm trees to make jaggery in Ngathayauk Township. Photo : Ko Htain

Toddy palm climbing has become less lucrative due to the decline in the price of palm jaggery, said U Aung Soe, a toddy tapper from Tamakha village in Ngathayauk Township, NyaungU District, Mandalay Region.
According to growers, the price of jaggery has declined from K1,500 per viss (3.6 pounds) in March to K1,000 in April.
U Hla Myint, another tapper, said toddy palm climbers have been busy with their work since the start of the toddy palm-climbing season. All family members are involved in jaggery production, he said.
“A climber has to climb 30 toddy palms 60 times a day. It is very hot as the temperature is soaring. We can collect a good quantity of toddy palm juice due to swarming on spadix and high temperatures,” said U Aung Soe.
Jaggery production based on toddy palm is seen on a manageable scale in the central arid zone of the country. Among other regions, the NyaungU and Kyaukpadaung townships produce roughly 1,000 tons of jaggery annually, of which 60 per cent is consumed locally.—Ko Htain (Ngathayauk) (Translated by Khaing Thanda Lwin)

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