Food security concerns mount as COVID-19 disruption leaves Myanmar farmers unable to plant

Food security concerns in Myanmar are looming as farmers are unable to start the new growing season due to COVID-19 disruptions.

“Since COVID-19, there is no longer usual trading as crops simply don’t sell anymore,” said Ba Myint, a farmer in Taungup township in southern Rakhine State, where the primary crops are rice and beans.

The price of produce has crumbled, and at times there were no buyers even when the price was slashed by 75 percent, he told this newspaper.

Ba Myint’s plight underscores the struggles farmers across the nation are now facing. Travel restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have led to lower sales for farmers and resulted in significant losses for those who rely on loans. That has strangled their ability to plant this season, leading to a near collapse of Myanmar’s agricultural economy.

The planting of monsoon rice – accounting for 80pc of Myanmar’s paddy crop production – typically begins in late April with harvests in September and October.

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