Edible bird’s nest production highest tax generator in Tanintharyi

The list showed that the forestry sector generated the highest level of tax revenues for the government, totaling K964.6 million in 2017-18, which is around half of total tax receipts for the Tanintharyi region government. The edible bird’s nest business contributed the lion’s share of taxes generated in the forestry sector.

Edible bird’s nests are bird nests created by edible-nest swiftlets using solidified saliva. They are prized particularly by the Chinese for their supposedly high nutritional value, rarity and flavour.

In Tanintharyi, the market price for edible bird’s nests recently hit a high of K3 million per viss (1.6 kg).

This has led to higher auction prices paid for working permits given to private companies to harvest the bird’s nests. During the 2017-18 harvest season, working permits were auctioned for as high as K1.98 billion each, said a spokesperson from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
The permits enable firms to harvest and produce edible bird’s nests in four locations: Ma Li island in Palaw township, Yay Aye Islands in Kyunsu township, Moscow Islands in Launglon township, and Kasai Hla and the Kaunt Ngar Islands in Kawthaung township.

“As the auction is on a yearly-basis, prices for the working permits are different every year. This year’s auction was won by the Union of Myanmar Economic Holding Limited (UMEHL) for the four islands,” the spokesperson said.

Tax revenue

Business has been booming in recent years. “The price of edible bird’s nest is around K30,000 for one kyattha (16.4 g), which is a record high,” said Ma Thinzar Aye, who is involved in bird’s nest harvesting.
The result is a rising number of businesses have emerged across the supply chain and more residents are making a living from the edible bird’s nest business.

Competition is rising. For Ma Thinzar Aye, who harvests the bird’s nests from swiftlets in their natural habitat, it is now getting harder to attract the same birds as other producers are using sound emitting equipment for the same purpose.

“As the number of people using sound emitting systems increases, our natural nests draw fewer birds,” she said. Although we could harvest 10 to 12 viss of the product a year in the past, we can now get only six viss a year.”
While edible bird’s nests are now sold and consumed locally, Ma Thinzar Aye reckons it won’t be long before the product is exported to neighbouring countries in the region. “So far, there has not been any small business exporting bird’s nests yet. But with more private firms entering the market and auctioning for government permits, it may not be long before we start exporting,” she said.

Source : Myanmar Times

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