More Families Face Food Scarcity in Chin State
08 December 2012: An increasing number of families in villages of Chin State are bracing themselves for food scarcity following low yields of their harvest this year.
Village heads from Ralpel, Lungler and Bungkhua said some families are running out of food while others are reducing the amount of meals in Thantlang township near the Indian-Burma border.
“Nearly half of the households in our village have had their meals with rice bought from other places, not from their own harvest,” said a village head from Ralpel, according to the Hakha Post.
The village head said that some of the money reserved for village development had been spent on road construction so vehicles could soon be used for transporting rice from other places.
“We cannot rely only on horses and human labour for rice transportation for the long term. Therefore, it is essential that the road to our village is made traversable by vehicles,” added the headman.
This year’s harvest yields have fallen to as low as 20 tins of rice ((1 tin = 10.5 kg) from between 200 and 300 in the previous, according to subsistence farmers from Chin villages.
“The majority of households in Lungler also got about 20 tins from their fields this year. This is one of the worst years we have ever had. We are already worried that a lot of villagers would not have enough rice for next year,” said Kam Ling, head of Lungler village.
Sources confirmed that rice prices have started going up as other villages are also in urgent demand following the low results from their cultivation.
“Even the prices of bad quality rice have been increased to as much as 24,000 kyats per bag, which was under 20,000 kyats in recent months,” said one of the locals from Thantlang.
It is estimated that at least over 30 villages in Thantlang Township and Mara areas of Matupi Township in Chin State have been affected by food shortages due to low production of rice from their slash-and-burn fields.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang