Government, businesses contribute paddy seeds to flooded farms
AS floods wreak havoc across the country and damage thousands of acres of monsoon paddy, government agencies and businesses are arranging for affected farmers to receive 480,000 baskets of paddy seed, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation deputy director U Aye Ko Ko said last week.
About 70,000 baskets were bought with Union government funds and another 60,000 were bought with state and regional funds. The bulk – 350,000 baskets – was bought by farmers, entrepreneurs and other businesspeople.
While flooding does not immediately destroy paddy fields, long-term flooding will, said the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary U Thet Naing Oo.
More than half a million acres of paddy fields were flooded as of August 15, with more than 200,000 acres of that being in Ayeyarwady Region. More than 20,000 acres of paddy fields have been destroyed by flooding, U Myo Tint Tun, who compiles the paddy lists, told The Myanmar Times.
“We will give the farmers in the flooded areas the paddy baskets without charging them,” U Aye Ko Ko said.
Other crops – such as maize, sesame and beans – can also be destroyed by flooding, but because they are grown away from the flood zones, few have been affected by this year’s heavy rain.
In order to get the paddy planted in time for monsoon season, the ministry will provide farm machinery. The monsoon paddy season runs from late August to September, so there is still time to salvage the flooded farmers’ crops, U Thet Naing Oo said.
Flooding has driven up the prices of paddy baskets: 100 baskets cost about K1 million at the Mandalay market and K850,000 at the Nay Pyi Taw market.
Bags of rice have risen from K28,000 to K30,000 as well, said Pyinmana township rice entrepreneur Ko Nay Soe.
– Translation by Khine Thazin Han
Farmers plant monsoon paddy.