Myanmar rice farmers suffer losses as junta sets minimum price too low


A farmer from the Ayeyarwady region. / The Irrawaddy

Through The Irrawaddy October 7, 2021

Myanmar farmers are suffering losses as prices of fertilizers and other agricultural inputs doubled during the monsoon amid continued unrest under military rule.

A bag of fertilizer has gone from 25,000 kyat (US $ 13) to 70,000 kyat and it costs more than 60,000 kyat to harvest an acre (0.4 hectare) as fuel prices have risen dramatically, said one. farmer from Kayan township in Yangon region, who does not want to be named.

The price increases have forced many rice farmers to use less fertilizer, which will directly affect the harvest, he said.

“Previously, we could buy goods on credit. But the sellers can’t give credit now, so we can’t fertilize our farms, ”he said.

The military regime on Wednesday set a minimum or floor price for rice at 540,000 kyat for 100 baskets of paddy (the regime set a basket at 21 kg, but in the market it is around 22-23 kg) for the monsoon paddy this year and hot-season rice next year.

A regime statement said the market may exceed the price floor but not fall below it.

The monsoon paddy harvest is just beginning and prices will depend on the merchants. It is only when the rice reaches 700,000 kyat per 100 baskets in the market that they can make a profit of 70,000 to 100,000 kyat, the farmers said.

It costs more than 400,000 kyat per acre with an estimated harvest of 70 baskets, according to farmers. And the yield will decrease with the limited use of fertilizer.

Rice prices are 500,000-600,000 kyat per 100 baskets in Myanmar. Current prices only cover most of the farmers’ costs. Farmers in remote areas suffer losses after earning only about 500,000 kyat after transport costs have been paid to traders.

If price increases continue, it will be difficult for farmers to grow rice in the coming hot season, when there is no rain and farmers are dependent on wells and irrigation, have- they stated.

“Fuel prices have gone up, so the harvest may drop on farms that have to pump wells in the hot season,” a farmer in the Ayeyarwady area told The Irrawaddy.

Even in the Ayeyarwady region, farmers in Zalun, Danubyu, Kyonpyaw, Pantanaw and other townships have to use wells during the hot season, which means the cultivated area could shrink, he said.

“Considering the prices of fertilizers and other prices, it will be difficult for farmers to grow hot season rice,” said the Kayan County farmer.

While the minimum price was set at 520,000 kyat for 100 baskets of paddy last year, setting the price at 540,000 kyat this year will not help farmers, given the current situation. Given the fixed prices, farmers who have borrowed money from lenders or pledged their assets to grow rice will be forced to give up their livelihoods, the University of Students Union said. Pakokku.


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