Vice President U Henry Van Thio, who was in Tiddim Town, Chin State, inspected development works there and in Falam Township on 18 May.
The Vice President was accompanied by Chin State Chief Minister U Salai Lian Lwal, Chin State Hluttaw Speaker U Zo Bwe, Deputy Minister Rear Admiral Myint Nwe, Deputy Minister Maj-Gen Than Htut, Deputy Minister U Soe Aung, state ministers and other officials. In the morning, the Vice President and party visited the silk factory of the Department of Agriculture silk factory in Tiddim and silkworm plant research farm (Tiddim) and observed the thriving silkworm plants and the various stages of producing silk.
Next, the Vice President heard a report on the factory and farm by Department of Agriculture Director U Aung Maw, with Director-General Dr. Ye Tint Tun providing additional explanations. The Vice President remarked that planting silkworm plants would increase the income of the local families, replace the slash-and-burn farming system and reduce damage to the environment. If the silk factory were to upgrade the raw material produced from silkworm breeding and worked through cooperation with the private sector, it would be beneficial to the silkworm plant farmers, he said.
Demand for silk was growing in the international market and supports of the respective departments were required to obtain a firm place in the market. Similarly, further research needed to be conducted in order to produce other high value products from the silkworm plant in addition to silk thread, said the Vice President.
In Myanmar, silkworm plants are planted in Kachin State, Kayah State, Chin State, Shan State and Mandalay Region covering 6,437.98 acres. In 2017-2018, there were 231 silkworm egg cards in silkworm plant research farms and silkworm plant farms producing 11,868 pounds of cocoons.
The first-year planting cost of an acre of silkworm is about Ks850,000. Maintenance in the second year and the making of six silkworm egg cards costs another Ks978,000. The six silkworm egg cards produce about 600 pounds of cocoons.
At the cocoon selling rate of Ks600 per pound, the second-year income of Ks1,320,000 will make a profit of Ks342,000. The break-even point will be reached within two and half years, it is learnt.
Afterwards the Vice President inspected the upgrading of Tiddim-Reed Road, Reed-Falam Road and the strength of the 360 ft. long Mansaung suspension bridge across the Manipur River near Mansaung Village and commented on the importance of continuously inspecting the strength of the bridge and to prevent roadblocks.
From there, the Vice President and party inspected developments in Laitui Village, Tiddim Township and a border trade station in New Haimual Village, Tiddim Township. At the border trade station, the Station Manager and officials explained the operations of the border trade station. Ministry of Commerce Permanent Secretary U Toe Aung Myint and Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Permanent Secretary U Yi Mon provided additional explanation.
The Vice President responded to the explanations by urging to strive toward expanding new export items and to obtain a market. As a border crossing agreement had been signed recently between Myanmar and India, there would be an increase in travel and trade and emphasis needed to be placed on having arrangements made for convenient trade and travel, he said.
The Reed border trade station was established on 4.814 acres of land in Tiddim Township, New Haimual Village in Chin State on 10 December 2013. During fiscal year 2017-2018, the border trade station handled trade worth US$44.35 million, of which import value was US$18.334 million and export value was US$26.016 million.
Trade in fiscal year 2016-2017 was US$39.652, and there was an increase in trade of US$4.698 million, it is learnt.
Later, the Vice President and party inspected the retaining wall and fence construction works near the border trade bridge that connects Rihkhawdar Town in Myanmar with India. The Vice President and party then went to meet and encourage household members in Rihkhawdar Town, Ward (4) who were affected by fire on 16 April and presented cash assistance.
In the afternoon, the Vice President and party arrived at Reed Lake near Ward (1), Rihkhawdar Town, Falam District, where they were greeted with a traditional dance, after which departmental officials explained the works being conducted for Reed Lake and regional development. Reed Lake, near Rihkhawdar Town, Falam District, is 2,997 ft. above the sea level and is more than 2 miles wide.
Reed Lake was discovered around AD 1500 and is an internationally known travel destination of Chin State, as well as being a significant religious locale for locals.
From there, the Vice President went to the Falam Township Tibual Village 16-bed hospital to inspect the health care service provided. He then encouraged and presented cash assistance to patients undergoing treatment.
The Vice President then arrived at the Falam (Surbung) airport construction project, which is in phase 1 of construction on the Surbung mountain range, where the Department of Civil Aviation Director General and other officials explained the project.
After this, the Vice President inspected the construction of the runway and two retaining walls. In the evening, the Vice President and party reached Falam Town, where they were welcomed by traditional dances.— Myanmar News Agency