Petrified wood valued added products promoted as souvenirs in Sagaing Region

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Pieces of petrified word are displayed at the market.  Photo : Lu Lay

The valued-added products (bracelets and beads) made of petrified wood and fossilized toddy palm wood is sold as souvenirs in Sagaing Region.
“The petrified wood and fossilized toddy palm wood are found in Ayadaw, Mingin and Yinmabin townships and Kalay city. They are added value and promoted as souvenirs from Monywa city. The prices of those products move in the range of K500-K350,000. Tortoise figures are highly demanded as they are considered to bring luck and prosperity,” said Ko San Moe Aung, an owner of KSM petrified wood products shop.
There are six suppliers for petrified wood products in Monywa city. Indonesia is one of the major markets of the petrified wood in Asia. Bogyoke market in Yangon is the main market of petrified wood in the country.
“The souvenir market is usually relying on tourists. However, the market is sluggish as it is mainly driven by the tourists and travel restriction on the tourists coming to Myanmar has not lifted yet. The market will raise its head again after the travel restriction on tourists is eased,” said Ko San Moe Aung.
Those products from Monywa are sent to the popular travelling destinations such as Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and NyaungU areas. At present, they are seen as material for interior design as well. Asians prefer them. The rare petrified wood can be discovered in Sagaing Region.
Earlier, there were more than 30 companies exporting petrified wood. But, a mismatch between supply and demand led to a drastic decline in prices. Now, only six companies are engaged in their export, according to Mandalay Region Petrified Wood Entrepreneurs Association.
“The market solely depends on demand from China. The market has cooled since late 2014. Price manipulation and illegal trade have brought down the number of exporter companies,” said an official of the association.
Myanmar allowed the export of petrified wood in 2012, and China is the only market for it. Large supply, lack of price regulations, and the conditions in the Chinese market have led to market deterioration after 2014, the association stated.
Petrified wood is found in the central regions of Myanmar — Mandalay, Sagaing, and Magway. Petrified wood mined from Mahlaing and Natogyi townships in Mandalay is of high quality, while Magway and other regions only produce raw materials which can be used for interior decoration. —Lu Lay, KK/GNLM

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