A silk reeling machine installed in Tiddim silk factory and silkworm plant research farm has a production capacity of two tonnes of silk per year, Chin state Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Forest and Mineral.
The machine was purchased under the 2019-2020 regional government’s allotted fund of K300 million. Silk reeling machines are required for the silk industry to penetrate the external market, said an official from the department. Next, the price of Myanmar’s silkworm cocoon ranges between K5,000 to K8,000 per pound depending on quality. Myanmar is listed top ten exporting countries of silkworm cocoon in 2018, constituting 2.8 per cent of global export. The country exported US$142.96K worth ten metric tons of silkworm cocoons in 2018, according to the worldwide market.
Myanmar yearly shipped 1,000 silkworm cocoons to China through Muse land border. Also, the silk thread produced in Myanmar is exported to China through the Lweje border crossing, and the volume of exports is increasing every year. In 2018, Myanmar exported over 7,900 kg of silk thread in June, 7,200 kg each in July and August, 15,300 kg in September, and 12,700 kg in October, according to the Agriculture and Market Information Agency. During the Vice President’s inspection tour on development works in Chin state in May 2018, he addressed that planting silkworm plants would increase the income of the local families, and it could replace the slash-and-burn farming system. He asked for the farms to be upgraded systematically.
Demand for silk was growing in the international market, and supports of the respective departments were required to grasp a firm market share in the market. Similarly, further research needs to be conducted to produce other highly valued products from the silkworm plant in addition to the silk thread, the Vice President urged. Efforts are needed to produce value-added products through sericulture and find much-expanded domestic and external markets, said silkworm plant growers. In Myanmar, silkworm plants are planted in Kachin, Kayah, Chin and Shan states, and Mandalay region covering over 6,400 acres.
The agricultural department is also revamping the mulberry cultivation, once prominent in Chin State. They are helping farmers regain good crop seeds and larvae. Chin state was once called the silk capital, but due to various reasons, the cultivation of the plants and the silkworms declined.
The department is encouraging local farmers to take up the trade. They are also conducting sericulture courses so that the growers know how to rear the silkworms and produce silk properly. —Htet Myat (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)