Monday, 13 January 2014

Eleven Media: Farmers become migrant workers as the farming worsen

"Farmers become migrant workers as the farming worsen", Eleven Media, 12 Jan 2014

Due to various reasons, farmers nowadays are leaving their farm and became migrant workers, according to the questions asked to farmers’ environment. Land confiscation, high cost in expenditure for cultivation, low cost for the yield crops, small production due to poor technology in farming, climatic changes and scarcity of cattle are some of the reasons why farmers leave their leave their farm to become migrant workers.
“I’ve been a farmer for all of my life. In rainy season, I grow rice and in winter, beans and pulses. But starting from last previous three years, I faced many difficulties and I was fed up of cultivation. First was the weather. Secondly, cultivation cost was higher. At the harvested time, the value of paddy we sold was not good. When turning to cultivate beans and pulses, the price we got was also poor. Moreover, what added to our troubles was the shortage of workers. All were leaving our country and became migrant workers. That’s why I changed my profession into other field,” said a farmer in Wor, Bago Region. Similarly, cattle for farm purpose are getting less day by day. The farmers faced hardship in looking food for their cattle and they also faced difficulty even for themselves. So, they sold their cattle to settle their livelihood. “Majority of them are domestic workers. Then they migrated into Thai. Some are stranded here in Myawaddy. There are over 150, 000 Myanmar migrant workers. Myawaddy is now implementing industrial zones and so the domestic workers stayed here. Most of the workers were farmers. After selling cattle and farms to solve their livelihood problems, they are in poverty. I heard that there are many people lost their farms and cattle in farming profession. What they said was if they continue doing farm works, they’ll be drowned in that circle and died,” said an official from the development committee for the Myawaddy industrial zone. Especially around this year, farmers lost their market as the price in world rice is not getting higher and beans and pulses cultivation faced the same fortune. “We came from Bago Region. What we earned here (Myawaddy) is more than we earned in our native places. If we do baking of bricks, we got Ks 7,000 per day per person. Sometimes, we got Ks 9,000. Our family has three members and we earned around Ks 20,000 per day. We don’t need to spend on living, the Zone has provided us. The cost for food is also cheaper than the native place. So, we can save money. Going back to the village and paddy cultivation is out of the question for us. We don’t have anything, not even the cattle. That’s why we live here,” said a member of one of the migrant family. “During these years, we face difficulty in harvesting of beans and pulses as there are shortage of workers. Lack of workers always happened at that time. All the workers here left to Thailand. So, we have to search workers from other regions. We provided three meals a day and give Ks 2,000 per day. After the season, they gone back,” said farmer Myo Kyaw of Madauk village. “It is not strange that people leave their farming because the farming work is too exhausted. Next, it needs capital. And pasture also scares this time. Besides, poor technology gives poor yields. Another thing matter is the weather and the price of paddy is not good also. We couldn’t blame to the farmers. One last year, all the paddy fields were flooded and we had to grow thrice. We had to spend extra money and all the manpower was wasted. No wonder farmers didn’t interest in farming. They tend to do whatever comes by,” said a farmer of Wor village in Bago Region. The world rice price is not good at this time. Thai and India have reserved rice and they are selling them. As the international rice price is stable and so the domestic rice price is also stable. Owing to the above reasons, not only the small scale farm owners but also large scale owners left the paddy growing business. “The income we got at the native is very small. We earned Ks 1,000 per day. How can we survive with that amount? So, we moved to Maesot. We have to do the sewing and knitting works at the homes of the owners. Farming is a seasonal work. That’s why we left our village,” said a Myanmar migrant worker in Maesot. The 70 percent of Myanmar’s population is depending on the agriculture but declining in various sectors forced them to become migrant workers. Some experts hope that if foreign investment comes to the agriculture sector, the business will develop again. At present, the foreign investment in agriculture sector is only one percent of total investment of entire Myanmar.

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