Farmers in northern Chin State are concerned food production levels will drop if a lockdown continues into late May. Doza Tawng, the headman for Kaptel, said if it’s lifted soon it will be fine, but it continues past this week it will “cause problems.”
He said their rotating farms provide more than sixty-percent of the food consumed in Tedim township but they need to work in their paddy fields soon otherwise their yields could be reduced. “The raining season is coming and if we can’t weed our fields it will cause a huge problem for our farms.”
Chin farmers typically plough their fields in February and plant in March. Near the end of May, the weeding starts.
The majority of the township’s residents are employed in the agricultural sector.
Kaptel has been under lockdown since March 24, a day after Burma’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed. The 36-year-old man was returning to the country from the USA to get married when he developed a high temperature and checked into the Tedim hospital.
At least four people who had contact with the man, including his mother, who also returned from the US with her son, tested positive.
Pau Lum Ming Thang, the Chin State Health and Social Affairs minister, told Khonumthung News, the bridegroom was allowed to leave the hospital on April 30 after testing negative.
He said the Chin government asked the Ministry of Health and Sports for permission to release the lockdown in Keptel but still waiting for an answer.
Pau Lum Ming Thang said the lockdown has been tough on Kaptel. Its been already several weeks. He said it’s safe to lift the restrictions.
Kaptel has a population of about 3,600 living in roughly 700 residences. Seventy-five percent of the village are farmers. They mainly grow rice, corn and beans. Some residents also raise cattle, oxen and horses.
In Chin State, there are six confirmed COVID-19 cases. Two have recovered and the remaining cases are receiving treatment in public hospitals in Tedim and Hakha.