HELP FOR WINTER CROPS — President promises support to those who couldn’t regrow rice

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Farmers plant rice seedlings in field in Ingapu, Ayeyawady Region, as flood waters recede. Photo: Zaw Gyi
President U Thein Sein inspects Kanyin Dam during his tour of Ayeyawady Region. Photo: MNA
President U Thein Sein inspects Kanyin Dam during his tour of Ayeyawady Region. Photo: MNA

PRESIDENT U Thein Sein pledged that the government will assist farmers in growing winter crops as recent floods disrupted rice cultivation for thousands of farmers.
At a meeting with local farmers during his visit to Ingapu, Ayeyawady Region, on Wednesday, the president said the government strived to help farmers grow rice when the floods receded in Ayeyawady Region and would provide assistance to those who could not re-grow rice in time for the end of the rainy season to grow alternative crops during winter.
The Ministry of Cooperatives will provide the assistance to people in the flood-hit areas, he added.
To prevent floods in the country’s rice bowl, the government, in cooperation with international organisations, will enlarge river embankments, which will prevent the overflow of river water and improve the river system in the region, the president said.
President U Thein Sein also urged officials from Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation to devise preparedness plans for El Niño to ensure that irrigation water reaches farmlands in Ayeyawady Region.
In the evening, the president made tour of inspection to Kanyin Dam and its spillway and diversion weir.
The floods which started in July hit four regions and two states, covering more than 1.4 million acres of rice farms and destroyed more than 800,000 acres, according to the data of the Ministry of Commerce.
“More than 300,000 acres of rice fields were submerged by the floods, but more than 200,000 acres emerged unscathed,” said U Win Myint Naing, the president of the Ayeyawady Region Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in early September.
“Furthermore, of the 100,000 acres of rice fields that were totally destroyed, more than 70,000 acres have been replanted,” he added.
Floods caused by heavy rains in July and August this year killed 122 people nationwide and displaced more than 1.6 million people.
Most of the flood-related deaths were reported in Rakhine State, where at least 56 people died, followed by Sagaing Region with 24 deaths, Mandalay with 12 and Shan State with nine.
On 3 September, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) called for urgent support to help farmers recover from a month of extreme monsoon weather, worsened by the arrival of Cyclone Komen at the end of July.
The deluge also destroyed around 972,000 acres of farmland and 36,000 acres of fish and shrimp ponds and killed an estimated 20,000 head of cattle, according to the agriculture agency.
Some 385,000 households were displaced by the floods and landslides that destroyed thousands of homes and irrigation canals in 12 of the country’s 14 provinces, the agency reported.
The FAO also said that out of the six provinces hit hardest by the monsoon floods, four have been faced recurrent inter-communal tensions since June 2012, which displaced more than 660,000 people, making those regions especially vulnerable to the impacts of the floods.—GNLM

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