Chin State Silkworm Farmers Call on Govt to Revive Business

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Chin silkworm farmers have asked that the government secure them a regular supply of high-quality Japanese silkworm eggs so that they can revive the tradition of making silk in Tonzang Township.

Silkworm farms were particularly successful in the area between 1960 and 1979, but the government halted provisions of silkworm eggs, and the market disappeared. Recently, the farms have started again under the Muukhwe Multi-Development Team, but farmers say that the lack of silkworm eggs means that they are unable to move forward.

Sawmg Liang Pau, chair of Muukwe, described Japanese silkworms as the best in the world, with Korean silkworms coming in second.

“It is difficult to get healthy silkworm eggs on a regular basis. The government helped silkworm farmers in the past. If government is going to help silkworm farmers again, many people will start silkworm farms again,” he explained, adding that even the notorious military regime in the 1960s and 1970s headed by General Ne Win provided Japanese and Korean silkworms to farmers.

Members of the Muukhwe Multi-Development Team have visited Japan, Thailand and northern Shan State to observe silkworm farms, and Japanese consultants have assisted with the formation of a silkworm farm in Tonzang Township.

A spokesperson for the Chin State government, municipal minister Soe Htet, acknowledged the past trainings but said that he didn’t know if there was further budget for the project.

“The agriculture department has given trainings in both Tonzang and Tedim with foreign experts. The Union government has provided assistance. Our Chin State government also filled the need for foreign experts during the training. I don’t remember whether we calculated a budget for it,” he said.

Tonzang parliamentarian Ceing Ngai Meng said with silkworms, locals could make and sell silk cloth and revive weaving traditions.

“Currently, our people import silk fibers from other countries. If we can produce silk fibers, our loom weaving sector will develop. There will be family businesses. If we can produce local products and sell them, our local people will get many benefits,” she said.

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