Monday, 20 January 2020

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Rice shortages in Chin State due to bad weather, pests

There have been severe rice shortages in Htantlang Township, Chin State due to bad weather and pest attacks, according to MPs from the Chin National Party (CNP).

Following a rat infestation, which devastated rice crops in Chin State in 2010, many villagers resorted to eating wild berries and root vegetables from the jungle to survive. Photo: Mizzima A field survey was carried out at the beginning of 2013 in 14 villages across the township.

“Among the villages, six have serious food shortages—they have no rice. Another two villages only have a little bit of rice, which will be enough for two months,” Pu Lal Maung Cung, a Chin State MP for Htantlang Township told Mizzima.

He added that the field survey results were different from reports that the Chin State Agriculture Department and Land Records Department submitted to the Chin State Parliament.

“I said in the parliamentary session that food shortages have occurred, but the Agriculture Department and the Land Records Department negotiated with each other and reported that there were enough foods. Their compiled data is baseless, so it is different to ours. The fact is that there is nothing to eat," said Pu Lal Maung Cung.

The villages with rice shortages have borrowed rice from religious groups in downtown Htantlang to supplement their supply.

In the third week of January 2013, the Chin State Chief Minister, Pu Hung Ngai, along with Chin State Ministers, visited Htantlang, Hakha and Falam Townships to supervise a poverty alleviation program. They gave six tractors for Htantlang Township and four tractors and some rice and maize seeds to the Hakha Township

However, the Chin people cannot rely on this poverty alleviation program, said the CNP.

“Their process is very slow. [The program] will be effective only if they can work together with many ‘civil society organizations’. But they are reluctant to let other new organizations get involved [in the poverty alleviation program]. We think that the program will be successful only if they let many social organizations take part,” said Salai Nhgepi, CNP Secretary-1.

The Chin State is the least developed state in Myanmar. The population have limited livelihoods, poor education, lack of health care and infrastructure.

“All of the nine townships lack basic needs in every sector. Many have moved overseas to make a living, leaving only elderly people and children,” said Salai Nhgepi.

This is not the first time a food crisis has hit the region—from 2007 to 2009, food shortages occurred in the Chin State due to a rat infestation.

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