Inle chemical-free tomatoes to be available in Yangon market

The Inle chemical-free tomatoes, the first Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)-compliant crop produced in the country, is now being sold at the City Mart in Yangon, according to Nyaung Shwe Restaurants Businessmen Association secretary U Aung Kyaw.

The Nyaung Shwe Restaurants Businessmen Association in cooperation with the Nyaung Shwe Agricultural Department in Shan State supported the pilot farming of chemical-free tomatoes in a 50-acre farmland in Inle.

Daily production of the farm is about 1 to 3 tonnes.

Farmers who have about 10 to 12 acres farmland from five Inle villages, including Kyi Thar Kone and Inn Gyan, participated in the pilot program, where technicians from the Agriculture Department inspected the farms weekly to ensure they do not use chemical fertilisers.

“Fifty acres is small number compared to the total area of tomato farms in our region,” U Aung Kyaw said, adding that there are a total of 6,000 acres farms in Inle growing tomatoes.

“These farms can produce an aggregate total of between 400 tonnes and 800 tonnes per day. It can produce all year round but the production has to stop in Monywa tomato season as the prices plunge,“ he added.

U Aung Kyaw said they are planning to contact restaurant associations in Yangon and Mandalay Regions to expand the market for the chemical-free tomatoes.

At present, chemical-free tomatoes have to compete with tomatoes from China and Thailand, aside from tomatoes produced locally, he said.

“Thai tomatoes enter from Yangon. China tomatoes enter from Myitthar and Kathar. Chinese tomatoes cost K200 a viss but our chemical-free tomatoes are K600 to K700 a viss,” he said.

U Aung Kyaw said five more Inle farmers are willing to join the project but others are reluctant because chemical-free tomatoes are more costly to produce.

“We also need companies that can guarantee supply of chemical free tomato seeds,” he said.

He said organic tomatoes are more expensive than ordinary tomatoes, but they have a longer shelf life and tasty.

Source: Myanmar Times