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June 25, 2019

Residents near Wetthe Lake earning good income from lotus fibre production

Workers make fiber from lotus stems.  Photo : Nyein Thu

The residents of Shanywagon Village near the 800-year old Wetthe Lake said they are now generating a good income mainly from production of natural lotus fibre.
Located at Salin Township in Minbu District of Magway Region, the Wetthe Lake is naturally covered with lotus plants. Villagers living near the lake have taken up production of lotus fibre as a family business. They mostly rely on the business for their livelihood.
Colourful lotus plants can be found in different parts of the lake. The plants produce a single bloom between March and December.
Earlier, the market saw only the sale of lotus blossoms and seeds. The lotus fibre production business has boomed in the last seven years after lotus fibre producers from Inle in southern Shan State entered Salin area and led lotus fibre production by sharing techniques with residents.
Malar Win from the village said lotus fibres have traditionally been extracted within days while the stems are still fresh. “We cut about three inches of the lotus stems and pull out their spongy fibres by twisting and hand rolling them on a wooden table. The villagers use about 400 lotus stems to produce one tical of fibre. The fibre is used as a raw material to make the special cloth used for the robes of Buddhist monks,” she said.
Currently, lotus fibre is priced at about K3,000 per tical (0.036 pounds) in the domestic market, while a viss (3.6 pounds) of lotus fibre fetches K300,000. The fibres are sold mainly to wholesalers in Inle area, she added.
U Kyaw Zeya, the head of Salin Township’s Development Department, said the department is continuing to disburse small loans to villagers to expand the lotus fibre production business through the Myaseinyaung Kyeywa project.—Nyein Thu
(Translated by Khaing Thanda Lwin)

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