Myanmar’s rice farmers are facing a bitter harvest. With the price of agricultural inputs more than doubling since the start of the year and market conditions more unpredictable than ever, cash-strapped farmers faced a tough choice: take on more debt to buy their usual amount of agricultural inputs, or reduce their use of fertiliser, insecticide and weedkiller.
Many have chosen the safer option of spending less, but this will almost certainly result in a lower yield of paddy from this year’s monsoon season crop.
U Myint Wai is the owner of a 100-acre farm in Maletto village, in Ayeyarwady Region’s Maubin Township, and normally averages 70 baskets of paddy an acre. He told Frontier that farmers like him had had to cut costs drastically just to cope with the pandemic, and he’s expecting a drop in yield of up to 30 percent.