More growers in Kya-in-Seikkyi Tsp eyes lucrative elephant foot yam this year

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Elephant foot yam production has become a lucrative business. Therefore, value-adding technology is crucial for boosting elephant foot yam production and expanding its market.

The number of elephant foot yam growers in Kya-in-Seikkyi Township of Kawkareik District, Kayin State, has grown year over year on the back of strong demand.
The yam grows naturally in the wild, and people used to find the yams. Now, it is largely cultivated in the township as it raised cash.
The yams are systematically cultivated on the farm. It fetches a good price and helps earn annual income for the local people. The yams are mostly grown two or three feet apart with the use of natural fertilizer in the township.
The local people eye the yam as it can be easily cultivated, and it is a cash crop. There are over 1,090 acres of elephant foot yam cultivation in the township. A basket of elephant foot yam stands at about K90,000-100,000 this year.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the price of fresh yams reached the maximum of K2,300 per viss (a viss equals 1.6kg). This year, it fell to K1,600-1,700 per viss.
There are currently about ten factories for drying elephant foot yams in Myanmar. Myanmar’s elephant foot yams are primarily purchased by China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. Japan offers higher prices than China for the yams.
Elephant foot yam production has become a lucrative business. Therefore, value-adding technology is crucial for boosting elephant foot yam production and expanding its market, according to the Myanmar Fruit, Flower, and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association.
According to the association, Myanmar is mainly exporting raw yam, and value-added products made from yam will help the market grow in the long term. Myanmar is only producing semi-processed yam at present.
Elephant foot yams are the main product of Chin State, where they are cultivated on over 8,800 acres of land. The Kanpetlet, Mindat, and Matupi townships produce about 1 million visses (a viss is equal to 1.6 kg) of elephant foot yams. Elephant foot yams can be planted across the country. In addition to Chin State, yams are being grown in Kayin, Mon, and Shan states, and Taninthayi and Bago regions.
Yams produced in Chin State are getting a higher price than those from other regions. They have better quality and taste, said traders.
Myanmar exported 4,200 tonnes of elephant foot yams in the 2014-2015 financial year, 1,300 tonnes in the 2015-2016FY, and 20,000 tonnes in the 2016-2017FY, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. — Myo Min Oo, KK/GNLM

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