Myanmar weaving businesses face shortage of weavers

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A woman is weaving traditional fabrics on the loom. Photo: Township IPRD

Earlier, Myanmar weaving businesses were passed down through generations as family businesses. But now, weaving businesses are surviving on a manageable scale in rural areas, including the Chaungzone Township of Mon State.
“We have been working on the weaving business for about seven years. We mostly weave Kayin ethnic clothes. Our looms are placed in other villages, as a branch business. Cotton is ordered from Mawlamyine, and 50 or 60 clothes can be produced daily,” said U Maung Nge, a weaver.
One packet of cotton can produce two items of clothing, and there are 12 items of clothing per package. Those packages of sewn clothes are sent to Myawady and Mae Sot markets, and fetch between K6,000 and K7,000.
“There are many steps involved in weaving and we focus on creativity to produce a variety of designs. Normally, we dye, sew, and create designs ourselves, and we hire workers for the other steps. Nowadays, weavers have become rare, and youths are unwilling to take up weaving. Weavers can earn K300-K400 per item of clothing, depending on the design, and we have 11 looms. The looms are placed in the weavers’ homes,” he added.
“Clothes are woven by hand usually, but machines are also being used nowadays. Currently, there are few hand-weavers, and most of them can be seen at the Kahtain robe weaving contests,” he said.
“Due to the shortage of weavers and looms, youths are not interested in weaving. Moreover, the clothes are not easy to buy. A weaver can weave 10 or 12 clothes a day, and earn K5,000-K6,000 a day,” said a weaver.—Township IPRD
(Translated by La Wonn)

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