The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) and Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation (MAPCO) are providing rice harvesters and dryers to Maungtaw and Yathedaung townships in the Maungtaw region of Rakhine State, where many rice paddies were abandoned or unable to operate due to labour shortages after the terrorist attacks in August.
With the help of the government and professional organisations, about 1,500 acres of rice has been harvested using machinery, it is learnt.
“The Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD) had formed nine work groups. The agriculture and livestock group is one of the nine work groups. The MRF conducts agriculture-related matters.
There are ownerless rice fields in Maungtaw, Buthidaung and Yathedaung as well as rice fields with ethnic national owners who are unable to harvest the rice. Both of these rice fields were being harvested by (machine) harvesters” said MRF secretary U Ye Min Aung.
The MRF and MAPCO are using eight harvesters in Oo Daung, Aung Mingala, Ngwe Taung, Aung Zayya, Phawutchaung and Mawyawaddy villages in Maungtaw Township and 14 harvesters in Zedipyin, Gwasone, Auk Kyaung Taung, Thane Taung, Thamihla, Kyunpaw, Kalachaung and Htway Laung Tin villages in Yathedaung Township.
In order to prevent wastage of harvested rice, a rice dryer has been set up in Buthidaung Town. Two rice dryers, one in Alethankyaw Village and another in Kyeinchaung illage, were set up in Maungtaw Township.
“There are 30 acres of rice fields. Because of the events in this region, farm workers became scarce, but the MRF came to help harvest with harvesters. That was a great help. Per acre output was about 30 baskets. If the government can provide some technical and financial assistance, it will be very helpful to the rice farmers”, said Farmer U Maung Soe Win of Zedipyin Village, Yathedaung Township.
Another farmer agreed that the assistance has been invaluable. “In this region, we usually hire farm workers when it is time to harvest. Lack of farm workers is an every year occurrence. Due to the recent problems, it became worse. We thought we wouldn’t be able to harvest the rice in time. Thankfully, MRF came to harvest” said farmer U Maung Han Soe of Ngwetaung Village, Maungtaw Township.
It was learnt that the MRF and MAPCO are planning to construct two 15-ton rice mills and two 6-ton rice mills in Kyeinchaung, Alethankyaw and Ngakhuya villages of Buthidaung Township and Maungtaw Township.
“Rice mill machineries have already been sent. They were not installed yet because we are not ready. The construction will be completed during the open season” said U Ye Lin Aung of MAPCO.
Emergency requirements and important requirements of UEHRD were reviewed and resolved by the private sector through combined efforts and construction and basic infrastructure construction work group, agriculture and livestock work group, economic zones development work group, information and public relations work group, job creation and livelihood training work group, health work group, micro-financing work group, crowd-funding work group and travel development work group were formed on 21 October.
“The State Counsellor formed UEHRD. It is non-government. Private business organisations and private business persons will participate in rebuilding Rakhine State. Mainly, Maungtaw, Buthidaung and Yathedaung regions will be rebuilt. If the project is successful here, private-public (government) partnership will enter into other states and regions. It is with this aim that we started this” said U Ye Min Aung of MRF. The above mentioned work groups are resolving current issues such as resettlement and providing humanitarian assistance in Rakhine State as well as mid-term and long-term works such as establishing businesses, creating job opportunities, increasing trade and investment.
By Min Thit (MNA)