Khin, a 59-year-old rice farmer, faced a distressing choice at the height of Myanmar’s monsoon season three months ago: sell a cow, a prized asset for agricultural households, or go hungry.
She sold the animal for half its value. The proceeds went to buy food for her family and inputs for her small rice farm in the Dry Zone – a drought-prone region in the country’s centre where farmers and agricultural experts say falling income and rising costs are worsening hunger.
“We’re just eating whatever is available,” Khin told The New Humanitarian by phone.
Months after the 1 February military coup, poverty and food insecurity are soaring in Myanmar’s Dry Zone and Ayeyarwady Delta regions – the country’s agricultural heartland – sparking warnings of a hidden crisis in the making as farming households struggle out of view of most humanitarian aid plans.
Thin Lei Win