Paddy farmers from Indawgyi lake area in Mohnyin District in southwest Kachin State are finding it increasly difficult to survive as rice prices have plummeted. The lower rice prices have been a result of the ongoing conflict between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Burmese army which erupted last year (June 9).
Most of the produce used to be exported to Hpakant Township where there are many jade mining operations. But the civil war has affected distribution causing many of the roadways to be blocked.
Last year one 25 kg bucket of rice fetched 5,000 kyat (US$6). This year prices have dropped to 3,000 kyat (US$3.5) for one bucket. This substantial reduction in income generated from sales has forced many rice mills around Indawgyi to close down.
Most of residents around Indawgyi Lake depend on farming as their primary source of livelihood. As their income is reduced it’s becoming harder to support their families.
The lower prices are forcing many farmers to sell their rice door to door.
An increase in fighting between the KIA Second Brigade and government troops around Hpakant Township since early May is sure to escalate an already bad situation for Indawgyi paddy farmers and rice mills.