Paletwa Villagers Affected by Sales Decline and Rising Rice Price
05 June 2012: A sharp fall in sales of local products such as turmeric and dried aromatic ginger and an increase in rice prices have drastically affected the livelihoods of the local people in Paletwa Township, Chin State.
The price of turmeric has dropped almost 50 percent to a record low since late last year while sales of dried aromatic gingers are plunging up to 30 percent in comparison with demands two years ago, according to a report by the Khumi Media Group (KMG).
However, the rising price of rice has come as a double blow to the Paletwa locals, who are still recovering from the aftermath of food crisis caused by a plague of crop-destroying rats following a natural phenomenon of the bamboo flowering.
The rice price has gone up from about 16,000 kyats to the current cost of 20,000 kyats a bag in Paletwa Township, a remote region of Chin State bordering with Rakhine State of Burma, Bangladesh and Mizoram State of India.
One of the Khumi community leaders from Paletwa Township told Chinland Guardian that the Chin locals living along the upper region of the Kaladan River and Pi? stream are hard hit by a massive drop in prices and sales of local products in the market.
“The whole situation has gradually started since late last year and not only the businessmen but also the local people have been badly affected. Now, people are struggling with their day-to-day survivals,” explained the local Chin leader.
The ‘alarming’ situation of riots and attacks in Rakhine State is ascribed to the main cause of affecting the market of Paletwa products and pushing the rice price to hike in recent months.
Majority of the products from Paletwa Township, where about 70 percent of the rural population depend on turmeric and aromatic ginger farming, are sold to people from Rakhine State, according to the local trader.
A report published in March 2012 by WFP (World Food Program) said over 60 percent in Paletwa Township saw lower yields of gamone, chili, turmeric, mustard and sesame, adding: “Crop losses have severely affected the food security situation in northern Paletwa and Matupi.”