Around 20,000 viss of orchids were imported to Mandalay, second capital of Burma from Kanpetlet Township of Chin state and several viss was flown to Mandalay to be sold in the black market in Mindat Township.
Local orchid traders have been collecting it for 50,000 Kyats per viss in Chin state and are selling it at 90,000 Kyats per viss in the Mandalay market for onward journey to China. A letter of complaint was submitted to the Forest Ministry of Chin state Government demanding action for illegal collection of orchids,” said Salai Myo Chit.
Illegal orchid collection is strictly prohibited by Mindat Township authorities but the orchids are freely collected by local orchid traders in Kanpetlet Town.
The orchids began to be collected since November 2012 and the collectors have been cutting trees in the forests. The local people are worried about deforestation in the region.
Most native orchid species are found in Shan, Chin and Kachin states and Sagaing and Mandalay regions. There are officially 841 orchid species but experts believe there could be as many as 1500 if more extensive surveys are conducted.
Orchid traders’ import it to China through Mandalay, China is the source of the demand. It is believed that the tissue in the stem of some orchids can prevent cancer cell expansion and sometimes it can cure cancer.