Myanmar’s young areca nuts market develops with increased exports

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An areca palm plantation seen in Mon State.

The young areca nuts market is developing as these nuts are now steamed and used as a substitute for chewing betel quid, according to reports from businesspersons.
Previously, areca nuts were dried under the sun and used in chewing betel quid. Now, tender areca nuts are steamed and used as a substitute for chewing betel quid, an areca palm grower in Mon State, U Tun Yin, told the Global New Light of Myanmar.
Myanmar is now preparing to export young areca nuts. A resident from Yangon’s South Okkalapa Township said, “One areca nut in the ward fetches K40. The buyers prefer tender ones. We didn’t know initially, but later we learned that they steam and sell these young areca nuts to China. We earn K25,000 from three areca palm plants.”
Currently, traders buy young areca nuts and steam them in factories in Mon State and Taninthayi Region.
Myanmar has contracted with India to export dried areca nuts for three years and will export 200 tonnes of areca nuts monthly to India, according to the Myanmar Areca Nut Entrepreneurs Association.
“Areca nuts from Ayeyawady Region are not produced on a commercial scale, and the size is relatively small. Wholesalers do not prefer them for export. Therefore, areca nuts from Ayeyawady Region are consumed locally,” said U Nay Myo, a areca palm grower from the Delta area.
Mon State, Taninthayi Region, and Ayeyawady Region are the biggest areca palm-growing areas in Myanmar, producing 230,000 tonnes annually. The yield of areca nuts is larger than local consumption, making them a highly demanded export item. — TWA/TMT

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