Fears are growing among local residens that toddy plants are dying out in Pyay township, Bago region, due to many people chopping these trees down to use it as firewood.
In the region, aside from cutting down the tree for firewoods, other uses for toddy palm trees include using the wood for buildings when other types of timber are scarce, according to local residents.
“A toddy palm tree of an average sizes fetches K15,000. For cutting, chopping and sawing, you can receive around K5,000 and the price varies according to the size of the tree,” said U Hla Wai, a toddy palm dealer from Myo Hla.
Local people said that in the past, they earned money by making toddy palm sugar from the tree’s sap which comes from immature or small fruit, which helps them to make ends meet.
Using toddy palm tree as firewood not only spoils regional beauty but also can have a detrimental effect on local people’s living. Therefore, local people want action from environmental conservation groups and forestry departments to prevent the issue from escalating.
Although K15,000 for an average sized toddy palm tree can be found in Pyay township, a similar sized tree would fetch only K5,000 in the Monywar area of Sagaing region, another toddy dealer said.