Pyapon rice farmers expecting low yield

Oct 24, 2008 (DVB), Rice farmers in Pyapon township in the Irrawaddy delta are worried that rice production will be low this year due to infestations and a lack of pesticides and fertiliser.

More than 50 villages in the township were severely affected by Cyclone Nargis, which destroyed many of the rice plants they had already planted for the year.

Farmers replanted their fields and now need fertiliser and pesticide to nurture their crops, but the cost of a bag of fertiliser is more than 30,000 kyat, almost double last year's price, a local farmer told DVB.

Pesticides, at 5000 kyat for 500cc, are also beyond the means of many farmers.

"Farmers and fishermen alike have to stand on their own feet; we get nothing from the state," the farmer said.

"For example, around 130 primary schools in our township were damaged. The state hasn't done anything to this day," he said.

The farmer said about 30 private donors had come to rebuild the schools, but more assistance was still needed.

"[Pupils] still have to study inside temporary tents provided by UNICEF," the farmer said.

"I still haven’t heard of any plan by the state to rebuild the schools either," he said.

"[The officials] themselves are waiting at the supervision offices for donors."

The farmer said that private donors had provided a small amount of fertiliser but not enough for all the paddy fields.

"The paddy hasn’t come up yet, but we are waiting for fertilisers and pesticides," he said.

"The yields won’t be as good as in previous years as we can't afford pesticides or fertiliser and the plants are weak this year," he explained.

"The seedlings were not right as we had to use what we had."

Reporting by Aye Nai

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