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Charcoal Production In Myanmar On The Rise, Spurred By Higher Domestic Demand

Author:Zhengyang MachineryTimes:2018-04-26
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Charcoal production in Myanmar on the rise, spurred by higher domestic demand

The production and sale of charcoal in Myanmar has been on the rise in recent years and not just because of domestic demand. Based on an investigative trip to Myeik, Tanintharyi Region, recently, The Myanmar Times learned that a large, unrecorded volume of charcoal is being illegally exported to Thailand.

In Yangon, demand for charcoal to grill food is widespread. Compared to other cooking substitutes, charcoal is cheaper and generates heat for much longer.

“People prefer buying charcoal. The price is K 800 per viss. Grilled food shops usually buy more charcoal compared to teashops and other food stalls,” a charcoal seller from Thaketa market told The Myanmar Times.

Demand for charcoal is high not just in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay though. In areas like Myeik and Kyunsu township, Tanintharyi Region, which do not receive electricity from the national grid, residents have for years depended on charcoal produced from the forest for cooking.

According to the Myanmar Population Census 2014, around 52 percent of the Tanintharyi population used firewood for cooking while another 43.5pc used charcoal. Tanintharyi has three districts, 16 townships and 283,099 family units, housing a population of 1.4 million people.

In the 2017-18 fiscal year, around 29,420 tonnes of charcoal was produced in Tanintharyi Region despite a 10,000 tonne limit implemented by the regional government to prevent deforestation, according to regional data.

A portion of the charcoal produced is sold to local villages while the remainder is transported to cities like Yangon and Mandalay.

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