A 35-year-old Thai man has started a strange business in Nakhon Phanom province with this being processing and exporting dried lizards to China and his venture is now helping villagers earn extra income during the current Covid difficulties, Siam Rath newspaper said today (April 20).
From ancient times the Chinese believe that dried lizards boost energy and help combat malnutrition.
Mr Rungtiwa Nonkhemprom, or Phee Rung, started this business at Na Nai sub-district, Phon Sawan district, and is buying live lizards from villagers at 300 baht a kilogramme, or 300,000 baht a tonne, with this working out to be approximately 50 satang to one baht for each reptile.
He is currently building a lizard drying and processing plant to expand production and buy lizards from across the country.
He told this newspaper’s reporters that he got the idea to start this business when he went to work in Taiwan four to five years ago. There he was astounded to see that some Taiwanese were buying and exporting geckos, earthworms and dried leeches to China for consumption as energy booster.
Upon his return he decided to export lizards because some natives of this province had already started exporting geckos, earthworms and leeches similar to traders in Taiwan but no one had started on lizards.
Once processed he is able to sell the product at 1,000 baht a kilogramme to Chinese merchants. However if the tail is missing, the price goes down to 800 baht a kilogramme.
Rungtiwa added that he is happy with his new career which is generating reasonably good income.
Rungtiwa and the lizards he processed for export to China. Photos: Siam Rath