Kayin min­is­ter dreams of silk and mul­berry plan­ta­tions

The Myanmar Times - - Business - Thanhtoo@mm­times.com HTOO THANT

THE chief min­is­ter of Kayin State is hop­ing to cover the tem­per­ate land with mul­berry plan­ta­tions and trans­form the once-iso­lated state into a cen­tre for silk and hand-woven in­dus­tries.

Daw Nan Khin Htwe Myint has en­cour­aged agri­cul­tural of­fi­cials and farm­ers to plant mul­berry trees, whose leaves are the sole source of food for silk­worms.

She told farm­ers and busi­ness­peo­ple that the state has the right cli­mate for mul­berry trees, dur­ing a meet­ing at Ka­mawkapo pure seed farm in Hpa-an on July 28. Mul­berry cul­ti­va­tion has pre­vi­ously been at­tempted in the Kachin State cap­i­tal of My­itky­ina.

“The chief min­is­ter wants to pro­mote mul­berry plan­ta­tions and silk pro­duc­tion in Kayin State, as the weather here is suit­able,” said U Win Hlaing Oo, head of Kayin State’s agri­cul­ture depart­ment.

The pri­mary crops in Kayin State now are paddy and rub­ber. Low global rub­ber prices and fall­ing Chi­nese demand has hit pro­duc­ers hard and plan­ta­tion own­ers across Myan­mar have been shut­ter­ing their busi­nesses.

Three acres of mul­berry have been grown at the Ka­mawkapo farm as a test. Daw Yi Yi Hlaing, deputy di­rec­tor for cot­ton plant and fi­bre crops un­der the depart­ment of agri­cul­ture, said that the land­locked south­ern state re­ceives high lev­els of rain­fall, but is not a cold re­gion, which means that mul­berry will grow well.

“Silk­worm can be suc­cess­fully raised dur­ing the dry sea­son, and mul­ber­ries can be grown in land that is not wa­ter­logged,” she said in a re­port. “If the plan­ta­tion is on a hill­side, the trees can be grown if an em­bank­ment is built to min­imise soil ero­sion.”

The cost of plant­ing and grow­ing mul­berry trees will be more than K700,000 an acre, but the plan­ta­tions will make more than K400,000 an acre an­nu­ally, the re­port said. U Win Hlaing Oo said the silk would be used in Kayin State’s hand-weav­ing in­dus­try. For now, it is bought from Pyin Oo Lwin in Man­dalay Re­gion.

A group of busi­ness­peo­ple in­volved in silk pro­duc­tion in Ja­pan have al­ready vis­ited Kayin State, he said, to meet with the depart­ment of agri­cul­ture and dis­cuss the po­ten­tial for busi­ness.

For­mer chief min­is­ter U Zaw Min told The Myan­mar Times last year that Kayin State was ready to move ahead after decades of in­sta­bil­ity and iso­la­tion, with hopes rest­ing on de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture lead­ing to closer in­te­gra­tion with Thai­land and the Mekong sub-re­gion.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

Photo: EPA

Silk­worm co­coon boils at a silk fi­bre home in­dus­try in Bo­gor, In­done­sia.

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