Bean farmers hit by poor harvest and low prices

Mar 18, 2008 (DVB), Bean farmers in Tharawaddy township in Bago division have suffered losses due to low bean prices and a poor harvest caused by unseasonal rains.

A local farmer said that they had only managed to harvest one-fifth of the amount produced in previous years.

"All the farmers in this area have suffered losses due to the poor harvest for beans and summer paddy," the farmer said.

"Farmlands that produced about 30 tin [120 litres] per acre in previous years only managed to produce five to six tin this year."

The farmer said the low yield was caused by rain during the period when the bean plants come into flower.

While the crops grew again after the rains, it was already too close to the harvesting season to recover from the setback.

Farmers have also been hit by low bean prices since the government banned traders from exporting the crop.

In previous years, 1 tin of beans would fetch around 20,000 kyat, but this year it is only worth about 14,000 to 15,000 kyat.

The total cost of producing one acre of beans, including labour costs, fertilisers, equipment and maintenance, is around 200,000 or 300,000 kyat, and with each acre only producing around 6 tin of beans this means that farmers are making a significant loss on each tin.

The ban on exports has also affected bean traders, who say that the government will not allow exports before May this year, when traders will have to apply for permits to sell the crop overseas.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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