IEC Urges IDPs to Grow Paddy in Karenni State for Next Year

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Villagers displaced by the war in Karenni State must utilise the land recently reclaimed after Karenni soldiers have pushed out the State Administration Council (SAC) to grow food, according to U Banyar, the second secretary of Karenni State Interim Executive Council (IEC).

“They need to grow the paddy plants for their food rations the following year now that the resistance groups control more territories in Karenni State. If we cultivate more rice, it will reduce concerns of food insecurity. If we control more territories, we can produce more food rations,” he told Kantarawaddy Times.

After the coup, farmlands have turned into a battlefield between the resistance and SAC, and farmers have become internally displaced as well as being reliant on support from donors.

After Operation 1111 was launched to seize the capital town Loikaw over a month ago, there have been tens of thousands of newly displaced civilians seeking refuge and food support. At the same time, SAC is actively blocking the delivery of essential food supplies from southern Shan State, causing a shortage and a massive price hike.

Ko Pyae Sone, from the Pyi Kankaw IDP (internally displaced persons) Assistance Team, says, “The situation is getting a lot worse. Old and new IDPs are facing many difficulties in the camps,” highlighting that if some people go to work in the farms, the situation would start to improve over time. Presently, everything is expensive, including fuel, food products, fertilisers, etc., and the number of donors has decreased, he said, expecting more hardships to come. The only chance the IDPs have is to go back to the farms while they can or start their own business if clashes have diminished in their area.

While fighting has been stopped in areas of the state where the Karenni have repelled SAC troops, in Loikaw, the resistance forces are still fighting hard, trying to drive out the remaining forces.

There are about 300,000 IDPs in Karenni and southern Shan states, with the highest numbers fleeing to Demoso Township.

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