Over 50% drop in Sterculia gum price this year in Magway

Sterculia gum (locally known as Saekalamat).  Photo: Zayartu (Magway)
Sterculia gum (locally known as Saekalamat). Photo: Zayartu (Magway)

The price of Myanmar Sterculia gum (locally known as Saekalamat) has declined in the China market, and is likely to continue its slide, according to merchants. In addition, the price of the gum has dropped by more than half in the Magway market this year compared to the year-ago period, they said.
While Myanmar Sterculia gum fetched up to K40,000 per viss in the first week of October, 2018, the price plunged to K16,000 this year.
“Regardless of quality, the price of Myanmar Sterculia gum depends on the color, solidity, fiber content, and market choice. Some of Myanmar Sterculia gum is cultivated, while some is found growing naturally. The price of the gum is likely to decline this year,” said U Htay Lwin, a Myanmar Sterculia gum seller from Magway Region.
“Generally, the market price of Sterculia gum is between K5,000 and K16,000 per viss in Minbu Township. And, foreign merchants prefer to purchase Sterculia gum with good-quality fiber, which is priced around K150,000 and K200,000 per viss,” said Ko Yan Lin Aung, a merchant.
“A merchant identified as Ko La Pyayt, who grows hundred acres of Sterculia gum in Pakokku had displayed Myanmar Sterculia gum at an SME expo held in Japan. The sale of Sterculia gum has increased six-fold in Japan, and fetches more money. But, the gum needs to be organic. If we can take care of the quality of Sterculia gum, we can export the product to Japan at a high price. We don’t need to rely on the China market,” said Ko Moe Kyaw, a Myanmar Sterculia gum seller from Minbu Township.
Locals are growing Myanmar Sterculia gum on fallow and virgin land, farmland, and private forest land in Magway region. Businessmen have made over a hundred investments on 10 acres of land, excluding the land’s value, said Ko Aung Nyein, a grower from Magway Region.—Zayartu (Magway) (Translated by Hay Mar)

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