Fake Thanaka from neighbouring country impacts local genuine Thanaka growers

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Central Myanmar townships are the main areas that grow Thanaka plants since a long time ago. PHOTO: Myo Win Tun

Myanmar Thanaka growers suffer as some cosmetics are being sold in the market in the name of Thanaka when they are imported from the neighbouring countries, it is learnt.
“The genuine Thanaka growers and producers are really in great trouble. It is unethical of those who fraudulently sell their products. Many products in the name of Thanaka are imported from a neighbouring country especially from Thailand. They are selling the fake Thanaka in the market by adding the colour and odour of Thanaka. This has a large impact on those people who are relying on Thanaka business for their livelihoods, said Chairman U Kyaw Moe from Myanmar Thanaka Growers and Producers Association. “A proposal for Myanmar Thanaka was submitted to UNESCO in March. If Myanmar Thanaka is listed in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list, the world will be interested in Myanmar Thanaka. If the Thanaka contains chemicals or other fragrant substances, it will damage the image of both Myanmar Thanaka Association and the government,” he added. “We wish to see in the market the Thanaka products made from genuine Thanaka raw materials. The government should monitor effectively the production and sale of Thanaka cosmetics. We don’t want the image of Myanmar Thanaka adversely effected as our traditional Thanaka has been in use for more than 2,000 years. We hate it to end up in an era of chemicals,” said U Kyaw Moe. There are more than 300,000 acres of Thanka plantations in Monywa, Budalin, Myaing, Pauk and Pakokku regions. With the increase of the foreign make-up brands in Myanmar market, the Thanaka market has declined and thereby the local people are growing other crops such as mango, drumstick and Tragacanth Gum Herb (locally called Say Kalama).—Myo Win Tun (Monywa) (Translated by Hay Mar)

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