Govt stocks seed re­serve

The Myanmar Times - - News - KYAW KO KO kyawkoko@mm­

ABOUT 5000 bushels of re­serve seeds have been pur­chased by the gov­ern­ment to help with re­plant­ing ef­forts of farm­ers whose crops have be­come sub­merged by floodwaters in sev­eral parts of the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the head of the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Ir­ri­ga­tion for Man­dalay Re­gion.

The re­serve seeds were bought with an al­lo­ca­tion from the Union bud­get to pro­vide to states and re­gions in need of the as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing Man­dalay Re­gion, depart­ment chief U Kyin Maung said yes­ter­day.

Some 4995 acres of crop­land in Man­dalay Re­gion have been in­un­dated as ris­ing wa­ters on some of Myan­mar’s ma­jor rivers has brought flood­ing be­gin­ning last month, but to­tal losses are not yet un­known, with as­sess­ments on­go­ing.

U Kyin Maung said there was rea­son for some op­ti­mism.

“All crop­lands hit by flood­ing won’t be dam­aged com­pletely, depend­ing on the depth of the wa­ter and du­ra­tion of flood­ing,” he said. “And some va­ri­eties of paddy re­sist flood­wa­ter.”

“We have al­ready bought seeds for this year be­cause we en­coun­tered sim­i­lar nat­u­ral dis­as­ters be­fore ... But we haven’t re­ceived any re­quest for seeds so far.”

Crop­lands in 11 town­ships across Man­dalay Re­gion have been af­fected by floodwaters, with Yame­thin and Pyawbwe par­tic­u­larly hard-hit. More than 2500 acres of crops are un­der­wa­ter in the two town­ships, ac­cord­ing to the re­gional depart­ment of agri­cul­ture.

Re­gion-wide, more than 1000 acres each of rice paddy, mung beans and sesame are un­der­wa­ter.

“We worry about fields of sesame be­cause flood­wa­ter causes dam­age to sesame,” U Kyin Maung said.

State-owned Myanma Agri­cul­tural Devel­op­ment Bank in Man­dalay Re­gion an­nounced that farm­ers can ap­ply for a de­fer­ment if they are un­able to re­pay loans due to flood-in­duced lower than ex­pected crop yields this year. De­fer­ment would not jeopardise el­i­gi­bil­ity for an ad­di­tional loan come next grow­ing sea­son.

U Nyi Nyi Lwin from Pyawbwe town­ship said gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance to farm­ers may be needed, but that crops would likely prove re­silient un­less the sit­u­a­tion de­te­ri­o­rates.

“It may re­quire help if it hap­pens, but weather con­di­tions are still good and we haven’t heard of any se­vere dam­age from floodwaters so far,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Man­dalay Re­gion agri­cul­ture depart­ment, more than 3.4 mil­lion acres were ex­pected to yield har­vests of one form or an­other across the re­gion this year.

Last year’s se­vere flood­ing had a ma­jor im­pact on agri­cul­tural out­put. Floodwaters cov­ered 1.4 mil­lion acres of crop­lands, com­plet­ing de­stroy­ing 972,000 acres of crops.

– Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

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