Entrepreneur has plans to reform wayward youth with fermented bamboo shoots and tomato jam
IN a scheme that seems to hit all the bases, a businessman wants to employ delinquent youths in a jam-making enterprise that would bring in profits from overseas that could benefit the old people’s home he runs.
U Soe Tin, chair of the Aye Nyein Chan Thar Gilarna home for the aged, says he can offer young offenders in his tomato jam and fermented bamboo shoot firm in Pyinmana, Nay Pyi Taw, with job opportunities that could turn them into law-abiding citizens, while also turning a profit.
“There are teenagers whose parents disown them. They have no jobs, and they’re up in court for taking motorcycles or throwing stones at cars,” he told a July 24 meeting of 45 entrepreneurs in the fermented bamboo shoot and tomato jam business in Pyinmana township.
The jam is sent to Yangon and exported for sale in souvenir shops in Singapore, the United Kingdom and other countries. U Soe Tint told his audience that capital and access to foreign markets could help the trade expand.
“I have a plan to open an office in Singapore. I want to build factories and freezer plants and sell the products all over the world. Local consumption in Pyinmana won’t create enough jobs, but expansion will allow us to employ young people at every stage, from cultivation to export sales,” he said.
Fermented bamboo shoot and tomato products are traditional Pyinmana delicacies not normally made with machinery or chemicals. Investment would be needed in order to meet a wider global demand, U Soe Tint said. Daw Win Myint San Oo, of the Moe fermented bamboo shoot company, said, “A Japanese company has asked us to send fermented bamboo shoots with very specific requirements, which would need new techniques and plant types. There are lots of problems like that.”
U Soe Tint has been in contact with Israeli technicians to develop a tomato jam that would sell well overseas. “Pyinmana is famous for fermented bamboo shoots and tomato products. I want to publicise them more widely,” he said.
He said he was prepared to provide know-how, marketing, machinery and infrastructure, as well as K1.5 billion (US$1.3 million) in capital, for a big company that would employ young offenders to make tomato jam up to international standards, with the profits to be donated to the Aye Nyein Chan Thar Gilarna home.
Daw Win Myint San Oo, owner of the Moe fermented bamboo shoot company, told The Myanmar Times after the meeting that Pyinmana used to churn out fermented bamboo shoots and tomato and mango jams, but now concentrates mainly on more popular bamboo shoot products. Pyinmana remains the largest market in the country for fermented bamboo shoots, and each entrepreneur stores about 300,000 viss of fermented bamboo shoots a year (1 viss equals 1.6kg or 3.6lbs) for sale.
– Translation by Emoon
Daw Win Myint San Oo owns a fermented bamboo enterprise.