Govt stocks seed reserve
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