Thousands of acres of paddy fields have been severely affected this month with floods inundating crops in the Irrawaddy delta while a drought has hit Upper Burma.
According to Dr. Soe Tun, the chairman of the Myanmar Farmer Association, nearly 50,000 acres of paddy fields were destroyed by flooding and another 20,000 severely affected in Pyapon Township, one of the so-called “rice bowls” of the delta.
He said another 5,000 acres in Karen State and 1,000 acres in Mon State had also been either destroyed or inundated.
“We need to be very careful with these weather conditions,” said Soe Tun. “Only seven million acres out of a possible 16 million are being cultivated this year due to a lack of loans.”
The Myanmar Farmer Association confirmed it is now disturbing paddy seed and fertiliser so farmers in the affected regions can try sowing their fields again.
Last year, Burma exported 1.4 million tons of rice. This year the Ministry of Agriculture & Irrigation said it expects that figure to reach between 2 and 3 million tons.
Dr. Myo Aung Kyaw of Myanmar Rice and Paddy Traders Association said that the seasonal effects on rice fields will not affect food sufficiency in the country.
“We need to develop the technological sector,” he said. “While government support has improved, we still need more.”