Maize Farmers Affected By Fighting In Karenni State

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Maize production in Karenni State has fallen by almost half this year as Burma Army offensives and fighting with resistance groups have forced more than half the state’s population to flee to safety from the violence.

A trader told Kantarawaddy Times that before the coup, 150,000 tonnes of maize were exported annually, but by 2021 only about 80,000 tonnes were produced on 120,000 acres of land in the state.

“This is due to clashes during the ploughing season, which affect the agriculture industry in Karenni State. Besides, the price of seeds has increased from 30,000 kyat ($17) to over 50,000 kyat ($28) per bag,” he said, adding that the cost of fertiliser has doubled.

”Everything is expensive, including maize seed, and farmers cannot afford to buy enough of it this year, nor fertiliser,” he told Kantarawaddy Times. For the majority of the state’s inhabitants, maize and rice cultivation is the main source of income.

“I do not know what to do next year. We are really worried about our food for next year because we could not work on our farm this year because the clashes have affected agriculture production,” said a woman from a camp from which she fled the fighting.

The conflict has displaced more than 150,000 people. Many of them are still unable to return home because the fighting continues and the regime’s soldiers remain in their villages or in the surrounding areas.

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