DMG Newsroom
8 August 2022, Sittwe

Rice merchants and businesspeople have said the prices of rice in Arakan State may continue to rise.

The price of a sack of Paw Hsan Mwe rice averaged between K46,000 and K50,000 in Arakan State before prices began to rise. The price has increased by around K10,000, from K50,000 in early August to K60,000, according to rice dealers.

Previously, one bag of low-grade rice was about K31,000, but now the price has increased to about K34,000, according to rice merchants.

U Zaw Than Aung, a rice seller, said that since farmers in Arakan State only grow monsoon paddy on a commercial scale and there is still a shortage of paddy in the market, the price of rice may continue to rise.

“Arakanese farmers grow only monsoon paddy on a commercial scale. We still need time to harvest the monsoon paddy, and the consumption of rice is on the rise, so the price of rice will continue to rise again,” he added.

U Khin Maung Gyi, a local businessman, said the price of rice in the market has increased by about 10 percent, and due to the scarcity of paddy in the market, the rice price may rise even more.

“The paddy stocks in the hands of merchants are not as much as they should be and there is still time to harvest paddy. As the price of rice rises, the rice dealers will raise the price, so the price of rice will continue to rise,” he said.

U Khin Maung Gyi continued that the price of rice may be spurred to even greater heights due to skyrocketing fertiliser prices this year, numerous people abandoning farming, and damage to rice fields related to climate change.

“At the moment, due to the drought, the rice crops are unable to survive, and it is known that about 50 percent of the planted acres have been destroyed. And because farmers can’t use enough fertiliser, next year’s rice yield will certainly drop. If the yield of rice goes down, the price of rice may rise again,” he added.

Ko Nyi Khaing Thwee, a young Arakanese composer, pointed out that if the price of rice, the main staple food for Myanmar, increases due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the country’s ongoing political crisis, the grassroots could face many difficulties.

“At this time, all people are facing various difficulties and are struggling to make ends meet. How will the grassroots cope with their livelihood hardships if the rice price continues to rise?” he said. “The grassroots are the first to suffer from political and economic instability. If only the grassroots face livelihood hardships, everything can explode. So, those concerned will need to deal with this issue carefully.”

Rice dealers and residents have urged officials and businesspeople to take effective measures to help farmers solve the rice price increase caused by post-coup political turmoil.

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