Monday, April 27, 2009

Farmers forced to buy new variety of paddy seed in Kachin State

(KNG) - Much against their wishes, farmers in Burma's northern Kachin State have been forced to buy an unknown variety of paddy seed by the country's ruling military regime as of early this month, said sources among farmers.

Under its new goal for Kachin State, where the junta wants it to be the 'fourth largest rice bowl' in the country, military authorities of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State sold a new variety of paddy seed worth Kyat 7,000 equivalent to US $ 6.8 per Tin (1 Tin = 40.9 Litre) to all those who own paddy fields, said farmers.

In the Tatkone quarter in Myitkyina, local farmers were forced to buy a Tin of paddy seeds for each acre by their quarter administrative offices known as Ya-Ya-Ka, according to local farmers.

Before the regime's administrative offices of villages and quarters in Myitkyina forced farmers to buy the paddy seeds, they were forced to buy the paddy seeds in cash by the junta, said sources close to them.

According to local sources close to farmers, most administrative offices of villages and quarters bought the new variety of paddy seeds from the regime under pressure after borrowing money because the administrative office was ordered to buy the new seeds.

The regime has not mentioned the name of the new variety of paddy seed it is selling and where it is getting them. But local farmers have been told that the new paddy seeds will give a better yield and all farmers should plant it in the ensuing paddy growing season staring in June, farmers said.

Since early this month, the military authorities put up several signboards on roadsides and places where the public gather in Myitkyina, which read "Kachin State to be the fourth largest rice bowl of Burma".

Meanwhile, farmers are reluctant to buy the new paddy seeds from the regime. But they have to buy given the junta’s order, said local farmers. All farmers on the other hand, would like to grow their own paddy seeds which they keep each year.

Local critics said, once again, the regime is planning to rake in a vast amount of cash from farmers in Kachin State after it earned over 8,000 million Kyat equivalent to US $ 8,121,827 only from Myitkyina township by issuing licenses to Chinese motorcycles late last year. Most people are farmers in Kachin State.

The Irrawaddy Delta in Burma's south is the top rice producer in the country. It is also known as the biggest rice bowl of the country. But paddy plantation in the delta is yet to go back to what it used to be following the deadly Cyclone Nargis on May 2, 2008. The delta was devastated.

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