Flooding in Mon State leaves farmers facing livelihood difficulties

September 6, 2018

Farmers in Mon State are facing livelihood difficulties following recent flooding that has left their farmlands submerged.

“Almost all of our plants were destroyed because of the flooding. We can’t even replant the paddy as there is still flooding and the water level has not dropped yet. If we wait until there is no water, it may take until around October, which is too late to start growing. The rainy season is over at that time, which means paddy fields must use water from the sea in order to survive,” said Nai Kyat, a farmer from Ni Don village, Kyaikmayaw Township.

In addition to water shortages after the rainy season has ended, farmers must access sufficient water via pipes connected to the sea, which increases the cost of replanting the paddy.

Daw Sein Than, a Ni Don village resident explained, “Our career is agriculture. We may face large [livelihood] difficulties if the paddy production is low. Therefore, we would still work on that even if the costs are high to grow. We have no choice. It is importance for us to get the rice. It is very difficult for the farmers who have no money.”

Affected farmers are concerned that they will not see the benefit of replanting as the costs are too high, even though the Mon State government has announced plans to provide one basket of paddy seeds and 8,500 kyat (US $5.50) per acre to farmers.

“We have provided paddy seeds and money to farmers in some areas [already]. To offer the remaining areas [aid], we have already requested 100 million kyat [US $64,788] from the Mon State Chief Minister, and once we receive it, we will disperse it,” said U Kyi Soe, an officer at the Mon State Department of Agriculture.

Similarly, on August 14th, the Thaton District Agriculture Department provided 100 million kyat to flooded areas in the 24 village tracts in Bilin Township in order to help farmers replant their paddy fields.

“We have not received the aid yet. We are not fine to replant the paddy because it is too late for us. We don’t have any dam to get water from. We have many challenges. Moreover, currently we also face difficulties in buying paddy seeds. We won’t grow the plants this year.” said U Hla Aung from Mae Nit Kaung village, Bilin Township.

U Nay Myo Thu, an assistant officer of the Thaton District Agriculture Department explained, “In order to get the paddy seeds needed to replant the paddy on time, we have collaborated with a company to try to get it for the farmers. Additionally, we will provide the needed technical education to the farmers as well.”

According to Mon State Department of Agriculture, approximately 66,685 acres of farmland in Mon State have been submerged by flooding and 26,492 acres have been completely destroyed this year.

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