CAD: More Chins Are In Debt For Food
07 January 2010: More than 80 percent of households have already been in debt as they borrow money to buy food, according to a survey conducted in Thantlang and Rezua Townships of Burma’s Chin State in 2009 by CAD (Country Agency for Rural Development).
The survey released today showed that only 20 percent of households could afford a weekly rice consumption in these two townships, with 25 percent skipping the whole week with no rice consumption and 11 percent having no access to food.
Most households have got to find irregular and alternative ways such as selling domestic animals in order to pay their debts while others have just got to rely on food given by relatives, reduce a number of meals a day or even skip the entire day with no food, according to the report.
“The assessment found 36.20% of households having no labour available, 29.80% facing a lack of irrigation, 14.90% being unable to increase the yields of their crop production in the agricultural practices and only 2.10% having no land available,” said CAD’s recent report.
Most of the people depend on traditional upland slash-and-burn cultivation while a few practice wet paddy land farming. These practices of cultivation are no longer reliable as the land has become barren after years of traditional farming system.
Private animal farming, according to the survey, is mostly practiced and sales of livestock has become the main source of income for the villages.
The survey also claimed the poor condition of health in the areas as one of the main problems facing the people, with their expenses on health becoming second highest to food.
“98.30% of households fetch drinking water by piped system with PVC pipe from water
sources such as streams but 1.7% of households by bamboo-made irrigation system. More than half of the community undertakes practice of fly proof hygiene while 36.70% of households continue with direct pit latrine and 3.30% with surface latrine,” it added.
Since 2007, Chin people have been facing military-ignored food crisis caused by a plague of rats that destroy all the crops and storages. Like other ethnic nationalities in Burma, they have long been suffering from the brutalities and systematic repression inflicted by the military junta.
Burma, once known as the rice bowl of Asia, has now become one of Asia’s poorest countries after decades of the military regime’s rules. Nearly half the government budget is spent on the military and just 19p per person per year on health, according to Burma Campaign UK.
CAD admitted that its findings probably represent only about 30 percent of the two Townships as the survey was conducted only among the villages of CAD projects.
CAD (Country Agency For Rural Development) is a Catholic faith based local non-governmental and non-profitable organization working for remote villagers in 3 townships (Hakha, Matupi and Thangtlang) in the central part of Chin state and Monhla village in Ye Oo township of Sagaing division.