Monday, September 25, 2017

Magwe farmland remains inundated with silt deposits

When the Ayeyarwady River spilt its banks in July and August 2015, acres upon acres of farmland were wiped out in the record-breaking floods. Today, local farmers along Mone Creek are still struggling to make a living due to the several feet of silt deposited on their lands.

Formerly arable land next to Mone Creek in Magwe Region has been rendered uncultivable by silt deposits. Photo: Nay Aung / The Myanmar TimesFormerly arable land next to Mone Creek in Magwe Region has been rendered uncultivable by silt deposits. Photo: Nay Aung / The Myanmar Times

According to the Magwe Region Farmers Union, more than 150 acres of arable land collectively owned by farmers from five nearby village tracts remain covered by up to 6 feet of sediment, making it impossible for agricultural production to return to the once-fertile rice basket.

“Some people who own their own farms are able to move their operations but those who rely on these [collectively owned] lands have become jobless. They now rely on odd jobs to earn a living,” said U Nyunt Win, an advisor to the farmers union.

“The government needs to conduct maintenance to fix this soil degradation. CSO activities and farmers themselves do not have the capacity to conduct the maintenance themselves,” he added.

U Nyunt Win called on the government to create job opportunities for the now landless farmers.

“We used to grow butterbeans and cow peas on this land in the past but now we are unable to grow either. The fertile soil is covered by about 5 feet of sand. When they need sand for construction, they come and remove some but the demand [for sand] is not great,” said local farmer U Than Tint Aung from Yaw Su village.

According to resident farmers, government assistance is needed to clear the sediment as there is no possibility of relocation to other cultivable lands.

“It will be difficult to find vacant lands if we plan to move. We can almost say for sure that there is no vacant land nearby,” said U Than Tint Aung.

In March, Magwe Region Chief Minister U Aung Moe Nyo told the media that his new government would prioritise natural disaster relief and the agricultural sector as part of its 100-day plan.


Translation by Zaw Nyunt