Myanmar will hold a pearl auction in February with the aim of boosting foreign exchange earning, a local weekly reported Friday.
During the three-day Myanmar Pearl Auction-2007, sponsored by the state-run Myanmar Pearl Enterprise (MPE) and scheduled on Feb. 16-18 at the Inya Lake Hotel, more than 100,000 pearls in lots will be sold, the local weekly Kumudra said, adding that about 100 foreign companies from 15 countries and regions are expected to joint the event.
Meanwhile, Myanmar has introduced some measures to boost pearl sale outlining them as increasing the size of pearls cultured by the enterprise, boosting pearl output in Myanmar waters and fixing reasonable prices for the pearls to attract foreign merchants.
According to the report, under an oyster breeding program, Myanmar produced nearly 400,000 units (about 200,000 mommis) of cultured pearls in 2006, 30 percent up from 2005.
Myanmar possesses a total pearl production area of 25,600 square-kilometers. The country started yielding pearls in 1956.
Cultured pearl production has been up sharply since 1992 when the government launched a campaign to encourage more domestic and foreign investment in the sector.
Of the six pearl producers in the country, there are Myanmar- foreign joint ventures involving companies from Japan, Australia and Thailand. Of them, the Myanmar-Japan partnership represents the biggest producer with an investment of about 8.47 million U.S. dollars, according to the MPE.
Pearl lots, along with locally-produced quality gems, jade and jewelry, are sold at the country's regular gems emporiums held up to three times a year in recent years through a sale system ranging from sealed tender to competitive bidding.