Distribution of agricultural materials is as important as aid in restoring the livelihoods of flood-hit farming communities, an official of the Myanmar Rice Federation said Saturday.
“Paddy strains and urea fertilizers must be made available to the affected farmers so that their farmlands damaged by recent flooding will be rehabilitated,” MRF vice-president Dr Soe Tun told The Global New Light of Myanmar.
It would cost roughly US $50 million to rehabilitate 500,000 acres, he estimated.
According to figures released Friday by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, torrential rains in June, July and August flooded 1,413,270 acres of farmlands across the country’s 13 states and regions, with 145,277 acres having since been replanted. The total area of farmland damaged or destroyed was 1,350,372 acres.
Paddy strains and power tillers have been delivered to areas where flooding has receded, with deliveries to be expanded as weather conditions allow, the ministry said.
The MRF official said it was uncertain how the flooding would impact the country’s target of exporting 2 million tons of rice in 2015.
“It is too early to say whether recent flooding could severely affect the country’s rice export target for this year, as it depends on the extent of farming recovery efforts after the flooding,” Dr Soe Tun said.
While some affected farmers have resumed working the land with the help of the government, many are still waiting for the floodwater to recede.
In Bago Region, some 376,000 acres of farmland have been swamped, with only 387 acres replanted so far.
“We want to begin farming recovery as quickly as possible after the water recedes as our livelihoods depend on agriculture,” a local farmer said.