Conflict in Karenni State Renders Majority of Farmland Unused

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By Kantarawaddy Times

With the war raging between the military regime and resistance forces in Karenni State, the civilian population, primarily dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, can only utilize 3% of the land in the state for farming. People fear they will face extensive food insecurity in the following year.

“Some internally displaced persons (IDP) camps haven’t received assistance because donors haven’t arrived,” said a volunteer helping them. Simultaneously, the ongoing fighting, much of which occurs in and around the farmlands, has prevented many from returning to cultivate their crops. Additionally, junta checkpoints and clashes have blocked food deliveries in the state, leading to massive inflation.

“Some of the IDP camps have completely run out of food,” the source said. This has forced some people to risk their lives by returning to work on their farms during the day while residing in the camps at night.

Maw Thae Mar, from the Coordination Team for Emergency Relief Karenni, said that many people are also growing small plots of paddy around their huts at the IDP camps. Unfortunately, she mentioned that at times, the junta attacks the camps with jet fighters and artillery shelling, forcing them to move to another area before they can start their harvest.

Approximately 250,000 people in Karenni State and in Pekon in southern Shan State have been displaced since the coup almost three years ago. Before the war began, most rice cultivation took place Demoso and Loikaw townships, where the majority of fighting and displacement have occurred.

According to the Karenni State Interim Executive Council, established in June by revolutionary forces, there is a need to purchase 50,000 32 kg bags of rice every month to provide for 150,000 people. Volunteers report that many people are surviving on just one meal a day, resulting in widespread malnutrition.

A woman lamented, “Before the military coup, we were farmers and could work on our farms. Our economy wasn’t that bad. But since the coup, our lives have been turned upside down, and we face many hardships.”

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