Wetthe Lake helping lotus fiber businesses in Salin generate profits

The Wetthe Lake located in Salin, Magway Region covered with different varieties of colorful lotus.  Photo: Soe Moe Thu (Salin)
The Wetthe Lake located in Salin, Magway Region covered with different varieties of colorful lotus. Photo: Soe Moe Thu (Salin)

The residents of Salin Town, Minbu District, Magway Region said they are earning a good income from producing fibers from lotus plants growing in Wetthe Lake and selling them to weavers around Inlay Lake in Nyaungshwe Township of southern Shan State.
Earlier, people residing in villages near Wetthe Lake, including western Kanbaung, Siyinoo, Winpyae, Tamarchaung, Ywarthit, Sinkyone, and Shanywarkone, plucked lotus flowers, seed pods, and roots from the lake and sold them in the market. But, since the past eight years, the residents have been producing lotus fiber and supplying it to markets in Inlay, which have famous traditional weaving businesses.
“First, we pluck about 800 lotus plants from the lake and tie them into bunches. A bunch of lotus plant fetches K1,000, and a worker can pick up to five bunches of lotus plants per day. The length of lotus stems depends on the depth of the lake. After plucking the lotus plants, we need to extract lotus fiber from the lotus stems by hand, using a knife. Then, the fibers are rolled together by hand to form threads. Raw cloth can be generated after the fiber threads are spun at the spool and dried. A viss (one viss equals 1.6 kg) of lotus fibers fetches K300,000, and the fibers are send to lotus robe and fabric weaving businesses in Inlay markets,” said U Thaung Sein, a lotus fiber maker from Shanywarkone Village.
Although the locals in Salin Town are willing to weave lotus fabric, they are facing difficulties in terms of access to techniques, capital, and creating a market in Magway Region.
The Wetthe Lake was declared an Environmental and Wildlife Conservation area in 1953. The lake is spread over 919 acres and is 350 acres wide. Every year, it is covered with different varieties of colorful lotus, except in the winter season, and birds flock to the lake to rest. — Soe Moe Thu (Salin) (Translated by La Wonn)

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