Khaing Roe La | DMG
23 November, Sittwe
Fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army have prevented farmers to harvest more than 12,000 acres of paddy fields in Rathedaung, Buthidaung, Ponnagyun, Mrauk-U, Minbya, and Myebon townships, according to Arakan State Farmers’ Union.
Even though this is the harvest time, fighting that’s taking place nearby is preventing farmers to work, according to U Kyaw Zan, the president of the Farmers’ Union.
“Even if no fighting is occurring near paddy fields, farmers are afraid of being abducted. Too many negative factors effect farmers from doing their work,” he says.
Mrauk-U is the worst among all the townships facing the problem, and U Kyaw Zan said that he hoped the government would help the townships solve the harvesting problem.
“So far, the government has not done anything such as meeting, interviewing, or just talking with groups that represent farmers,” he said.
Farmers are living in nearby IDP camps, since fleeing from their homes, their wish now is to be able to harvest the paddy crops they have grown.
“The grain ripe but we can’t harvest them. We are afraid of going out to the paddy fields because we run the risk of getting shot at or worse. That’s why I hope the government will help us as much as possible so we can harvest our crops,” says a farmer from A Myet Taung Village in Rathedaung Township.
U Win Myint, the Municipal Affairs Minister for Arakan State, said that the government has given combined-rice-harvester machines to township administrators, this is one machine for one township so that farmers can harvest in fighting areas.
“It’s the case that the rice harvesters were supplied as one for a township. They can contact township administrators to harvest rice. Township authorities will help farmers in need,” says the minister.