THE price of kapok fiber obtained from red silk cotton fruit has increased this season due to high demand in the local market, according to merchants.
The price of kapok fiber has risen to K2,000 (US$1.71) per viss (approximately 1.6 kilograms) from K1,300 ($1.11) this year, one grower said.
Red silk cotton fruit has remained consistently popular with buyers, favoured over other products because of its quality and perceived health benefits.
Buyers are facing difficulties in collecting red silk cotton fruit this season for the purpose of producing quality silk cotton to meet domestic demand.
The increase in price of kapok fibre is reportedly linked to a lack of labourers in the growing regions to harvest the fruit as the majority of the labour pool go abroad to find job opportunities and higher wages.
“The durability of kapok attracts people who want to own pillows filled with the organic cotton,” said Ma San San Ye, a bed pillow salesman.
Kapok is a fibre taken from the seed-pod of the tropical kapok tree, also known as the silk-cotton tree. The kapok tree is valued and its produce hard to come by due to the fact that the tree typically only gives fruit every 5-10 years. It is a deciduous and loses its leaves during the dry season (May to October) in the tropics. Red silk cotton trees are found mostly in dry regions including Mandalay, Sagaing, Monywa and Shwebo.