Labour scarcity hinders sterculia gum production

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The sterculia gum seen on the wild almond tree. Photo: Kyaw Kyaw (Mohnyin)

With the scarcity of labour in Mohnyin Township, Kachin State during coronavirus period, the local wild almond tree (biologically named sterculia versicolour wall) growers could not produce the gum from the tree although it is time to tap the gum, according to the township wild almond tree growers.
“We can tap the gum from the tree in April. There is no skilled labour to do this job. Last year, we hired skilled labour from other regions. This year, we could not hire them because of restrictions imposed on movement caused by the outbreak of viral infection period,” said U Taik Sein, a local grower, who planted about 800 wild almond trees.
“The price of the wild almond tree is varied. The high-quality gum is sold for K20,000 per viss while the normal gum, for K15,000 per viss. But, we don’t have the demand. We have to send the gum to Mandalay depot but this can cost higher transportation charges,” he added.
There are a total of 43 acres of wild almond trees in Mohnyin township. The gum from the wild almond tree is usually tapped from April to January. —Kyaw Kyaw (Mohnyin) (Translated by Hay Mar)

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