Early bloomers, low yields lift strawberry prices in PyinOoLwin

Growers packaging fresh red strawberries to sell at the market in PyinOoLwin.  Photo: Min Htet Aung (Mahn Sub-printing House)
Growers packaging fresh red strawberries to sell at the market in PyinOoLwin. 
Photo: Min Htet Aung (Mahn Sub-printing House)

Strawberries began blooming earlier this harvesting season in PyinOoLwin and with low yields, cultivators are receiving about K8,000 per viss, marking a good start for this year’s season.
January is when strawberries usually start growing in PyinOoLwin but this season saw them bloom early in December. In addition, the heavy rains during that period damaged most of the buds and reduced the production number, allowing cultivators to fetch an unusually high price for the first crops.
Ko Poe Thar, a strawberry farmer from Pinlain Thabyayay Village in PyinOoLwin Township, said the first strawberry crops usually fetched K6,000 per viss buy the wholesale buyers in Yangon and Mandalay were willing to pay K2,000 extra this year due to the low yield. He added that production would go up in February and March, provided there was no heavy rain. (1 viss=3.6 pounds)
With the recent influx of strawberries from China entering the Mandalay market has caused the price to drop to K4,000 per viss as of the last week of January. However, proliferate production in February is expected to fetch K3,000 per viss.
An acre of strawberry fields can produce about 1,500 viss from the start of the season to the end of April, yet this rate depends on the weather conditions, with the fruits preferring a drier season. Strawberry plantations can be the main source of income for most families in PyinOoLwin.
Strawberries don’t like the cold, they produce more fruits in hot weather, said Ko Poe Thar. He added that the fields which produce them the earliest can get the highest price as the first wave but the price then drops to around K1,200 in March. However, they also usually rise back up to K2,000-K3,000 per viss at the end of the Thingyan Festival. —Min Htet Aung (Mahn Sub-printing House)(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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