Food Shortages Feared in Chin State
22 November 2012: Villagers in Thantlang Township and parts of Matupi Township, Chin State will face food shortages following poor harvest.
Chin subsistence farmers said their paddy crops got dried days ahead of harvest, affecting harvest yields to a record low in years.
“Our paddy crops got rotten and dried near the time of harvest. And some kind of insects fed on the crops and both the crops and the insects died afterwards,” Pu Bawi Thang told the Hakha Post.
Other Chin farmers attributed the reasons to ‘unusual’ conditions of weather with low rains and the lingering consequences of mautam food crisis, which affected the bamboo jungle that are used for cultivation.
“The bamboos died after bearing fruits. When the bamboo jungle was kindled for cultivation, the ashes became too strong for crops, and that really brought negative impacts on our harvest,” explained the Chin villager.
Crop harvests in some villages of Thantlang Township have come to the worst yields with only about 20 percent compared to previous years.
Pu Kap Cin, from Vomkua, said: “In the past, we had between 300 and 400 tins of rice (1 tin = 10.5 kg) from our harvest. This year, some families have only got between 20 to 60 tins.”
“Our villagers are now very worried as they have only got enough rice for the next two months or less,” added Pu Kap Cin, according to the Chinland Post.
60 out of 70 families in Vomkua village, Thantlang Township are dependent on subsistence farming, with their cultivation practiced in a slash-and-burn system.
Sources from Thantlang town said other villages in the area face similar situation as they have just finished harvesting their crops while others are still in the process.
“We don’t know how many villages are affected. But what we are sure is that this is happening in our area and necessary actions should be taken to help these victims,” said a community leader from Thantlang.
Dozens of Chin villages are still recovering from the aftermath of rat-and-bamboo-related food crisis that had ravaged Chin State since late 2006.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang