The Health Ministry has banned 11 imported cooking oil products from Thailand and Malaysia for allegedly using harmful dyes.
Among the banned oils removed from the market are Sakura, Fisherman, one Prawn, Fried Fish, Crab Water Dragon and Red Star.
A cooking oil dealer in Pyay Division told The Irrawaddy on Friday: “Now it’s time for sesame. Early this year, the price of sesame oil was 60,000 kyat (US $60) for 60 viss (90 kilograms). The current price of Magway red sesame and black sesame is 80,000 kyat for 60 viss (90 kilograms). The price of Mandalay white sesame is 100,000 kyat ($100) for 60 viss (90 kilograms).
Complicating the price issue, Magway and Mandalay divisions, the location of many cooking oil plantations, have experienced a drought, making for a poor sesame crop.
Moreover, Pyay and Mindon divisions were hit by unusually heavy rains, hurting the crops in those areas.
Traders say they expect that some dealers will invest more in sesame crops and the price of sesame may be lower next year.
A cooking oil dealer in Magway division told The Irrawaddy, “All beans dealers ran in the red last year. But this year they made a profit, and they will invest and buy sesame.”
The current price for palm oil is about 2,7oo kyat ($27) per viss (1.53 kilograms); groundnut and sesame oil are 3,100 kyat ($31).
An oil dealer at the Bayintnaung wholesale market in Rangoon said: “For the time being, the price and demand of groundnut oil are normal. Actually, most people in lower Burma don’t like sesame oil because it has a rather bitter taste, and it’s smell is not sweet like groundnut oil. But some high class people use it for their health.”
Consumers use on average 10 kilograms of cooking oil a year, amounting to some 560 million kilograms for 56 million Burmese people, according to data from the Myanmar [Burma] Edible Oil Dealers Association.