Labor Shortage in Cultivation Sector Proves Difficult for Local Mudon Farmers
December 11, 2014
Despite providing high wages, Mon State farmers are experiencing difficulty in finding laborers this harvest season. Mon State has been losing it labor forces to foreign countries as many young people leave their homes for better job opportunities abroad.
Mon State farmers have offered up to 4,500-5,000 kyat a day, as well as providing two meals a day for harvest laborers, but it remains difficult to hire a Mon laborer. There is a certain amount of labor migration from Upper Burma, however, a labor shortage remains in Mon State.
“We have to pay 5,000 [kyat] for a male laborer, and 4,500 [kyat] for a female; we also have to provide two meals. Even Burmese laborers can’t be found easily. Some Burmese laborers take the wages in advance, but run away from the workplace after getting the money, so other Burmese laborers are afraid of the problem, and don’t dare accept the job offer. Neighboring farmers have to share their labor forces with each other,” said Nai Nay Win, a farmers from Kalog Sot Village.
“Despite increasing wages, we’re still in [a] labor shortage. There are no Mon laborers [available]. No one wants to work as a daily laborer like before. All Mon laborers have gone to Thailand for work. When we hire Burmese laborers they sometimes steal our properties, but we have no alternative because there is no local labor. This is a huge hardship for us,” said Nai Nine, a farmer from Phae Do Village, Mudon Township.
Last year, a local male laborer earned 4,000 kyat a day, and a female earned 3,500 kyat a day. A Burmese male laborer was paid 3,500 kyat, and a Burmese female received 3,000 a day. The farmers have increased their wages this year, due to the shortage of manual laborers.
“The main problem is that the local young people have fled from their native [homes] [for better job opportunities]. The shortage of local laborers makes us dependent on migrant laborers. It’s not convenient for us to give high wages and make special requests to hire manual laborers. Going abroad for work is good for us, but on the other hand, we should maintain the human resources to protect our land and culture. I would like to urge our people to show an interest in developing the cultivation sector in our land,” said former school teacher Nai Tea, 58, from Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township on December 4, 2014.
The local people in Mon State recognize domestic labor migration as a serious challenge for their culture and identity.