Sculptors who work with wood may soon have easier access to raw material.
The government’s Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) is planning to start a tender bidding system to conveniently sell wood to sculptors, as there is currently no direct channel for business with artists.
Bar Bar Cho is joint-secretary of the Myanmar Timber Merchants Association (MTMA).
”As the [sculptors] have no [buyer] registration, there is no convenient way to sell them wood collectively under a transparent system”, he said. ”As of now, they have to submit applications individually to buy wood, and the government, in order to make this easier, is planning to sell wood to them collectively under a tender bidding system.”
Burmese sculptors have long wished for new regulations to facilitate the buying of wood.
”There are sculptors in towns all across Burma, and if they are allowed convenient access to buy and carve wood in their locations, they will be able to penetrate the international market easily”, said sculptor Kyaw Kyaw Win. ”So the long and difficult procedures, incomprehensible for the sculptors, should be eased to allow them to penetrate the international market. We have the human resources, and access to raw material should be made convenient, as we won’t cause deforestation no matter how many sculptures we make.”
One reason why it’s more difficult for the MTMA to sell the sculptors wood is that the majority of them are registered with the Ministry of Cooperatives.
”The sculptors are not part of the MTMA, most of them are registered under the Cooperatives Ministry’s Cottage Industry Department”, said Bar Bar Cho. ”They were provided access to buy wood from the MTE via the Ministry for raw material, and the MTMA were unable to help them as they are not associated with us.”
The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry has talked about introducing a new system, to sell only a limited amount of timber to merchants, in accordance with environmental standards.
A ban on the export of raw timber is also set to become effective on 1 April this year.