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September 19, 2019

Traditional weavers take up other jobs as businesses decline

With traditional weaving businesses facing a decline in Kyouksitpone Myauk Village of Monywa Township, jobs for weavers are drying up, which is forcing them to turn to other sources of livelihood, according to U Khine Zaw Lat, the Village Administrator.

A woman is weaving traditional fabrics on a loom in Monywa.  Photo: Win Oo (Zeyar Tine)

At present, weaving businesses have suspended operations, and entrepreneurs have begun investing in other businesses due to the high cost of raw materials, lack of creative designs, a fall in the price of finished clothes, and lack of opportunities.
“Earlier, there were 500 looms in the village. Weaving businesses have been enduring problems since the past two years. Now, only 50 looms remain. The main reasons for the shortage of weavers is the high price of raw materials, low price of finished clothes, besides the entry of innovative designs from foreign markets in the local market. At present, weavers are turning to other jobs, including masonry and carpentry. If the weaving businesses are suspended permanently, they will take up farming,” said Ko Kyi Aye, a weaving business entrepreneur.
The residents of Kyouksitpone Myauk village say they have been practising weaving for more than 70 years. At first, they weaved cotton blankets, towels, and longyis. In 2012, they earned well by weaving India’s Aizawl clothes. In 2017, creatively designed clothes from foreign markets began entering local markets, and the prices of locally produced clothes declined. As a result, weaving industries suffered. — Win Oo (Zeyar Tine)
(Translated by La Wonn)

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