Mixed jaggery enters domestic market

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A jaggery maker is seen working on a manageable scale in Mahlaing Township.

With the commodity prices soaring, counterfeit foods made of cheaper substances are allegedly flowing into the market and mixed jaggery is among them.
The wholesale prices of organic palm jaggery prices were K3,450 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kilogrammes) in the NyaungU area, K3,050 in the Mahlaing area, K3,150 in the Pakokku area and K3,550 in the Yesagyo area on 13 September 2022.
When sugar prices plummeted below K1,000 per viss in the years 2018 and 2019, jaggery prices hit K1,500 per viss. At that time, organic jaggery and jaggery combo were sold in the markets, Ko Thet Tun, a trader who delivers the sugar to regions outside Yangon, told the Global New Light of Myanmar (GNLM).
The jaggery combo mixed with sugar was K300-400 cheaper than the organic one then. They can be identified as a jaggery combo only when we taste it, said a buyer. During those years, jaggery producers in the central Myanmar regions made jaggery combos. Carbon steel wok should be used in making organic jaggery. Instead, cast iron woks are utilized in jaggery combos and they are unhealthier, Ko Naing Win, a jaggery maker from the Pakokku area, told the GNLM.
When the wholesale price of jaggery stood at only K1,000 per viss, it did not cover the general cost including the wages of the palm tree climbers in production. As the business is physically demanding but less secure financially, the local people migrate to foreign countries for jobs. The shortage of workers prompted some palm plant owners to cut down the trees for commercial purposes. Consequently, it is hard to find organic jaggery in the markets.
In the past decade, the jaggery price jumped four or five times. However, organic jaggery is mingled with fake ones in competitive markets.
Mixed jaggery consists of 50 ticals of wheat flour, a cup of palm sap and three visses of sugarcane sap, fresh jaggery, rice powder and chemical substance. Before it is completely cooled down, jaggery is shaped into a circle.
It takes one hour and a half to make a wok of organic jaggery, while a four-wok load of mixed jaggery can be made during this time. As it uses forged ingredients unlike pure palm sap, it is unhealthy.
A palm jaggery lover called for an inspection of the fake ingredients to check whether it has health impacts or not. — TWA/GNLM

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