By Tin Win Hlaing (Kawkareik)
Armed conflicts that began in the area soon after independence in 1948 affected the township and hit transportation services, education, health, and the socio-economic life of the locals hard.
The Kayin ethnic people who traditionally relied on cultivation and gardening for a livelihood had to abandon their gardens due to internal armed conflicts.
The local ethnic people who were born during the period of instability in the region migrated to neighboring Thailand and got involved in the illegal goods trade.
After the smuggling business collapsed and border trade emerged, many locals migrated to foreign countries in search of jobs, leaving Kayin State with a shortage of farm labor. Attempts to re-establish the gardens and farmlands were in vain.
Since 2015, the state has seen a return of stability, with better transportation services, 24-hour power supply, and public healthcare services in villages and schools, even in far-flung areas of the state. This has helped attract investment in livestock breeding.
The Pyai Pyai Natural Cow Milk business emerged as a small and medium enterprise (SME) in Kayin State in 2015 under Saw Noe Noe and Saw Win Ko. The dairy business started with seven cows in 2015 at the No.1 Ward in Kawkareik.
When the business began to grow, the two ethnic entrepreneurs bought seven cows from the Silver Parl Diary Production in Mingalardon. Today, the number of cows has crossed 60. They make milk from 20 cows everyday and collect about 200 litres of milk daily. The dairy farm has found a market for milk in Kawkareik and Myawady.
The Kawkareik District Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department is providing free veterinary services to the farm.
Similarly, another small business involving farming of 40 goats is operating out of a ward in Kawkareik. Locals said buyers from Yangon come to their villages to buy cattle door-to-door.
The KNU Agriculture and Livestock Breeding Farm near the Tawnaw Waterfall on the Myawady-Kawkareik section of the Asia Highway is also farming cattle, including cows, buffaloes, and pigs. Fish, duck, and chicken farming has also developed there. The Kawkareik District Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department is closely helping the farm, providing veterinary services.
The local farmers are committed to expanding their farms into medium scale businesses once they are granted loans by the government.
Kawkareik Township is on the path to food sufficiency and earning an income from raising livestock. (Translated by KZL)