Chin people face acute food shortage

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The villagers of Zanak tlang and Mara tlang areas of Thantlang Township, and Mara area of Matupi Township, Chin state, Burma are worried about getting their daily meals, given the lack of production of rice from jhum cultivation this year.

The jhuming paddy was mostly destroyed by a storm as a result production has come down this year. The local people depend on jhum cultivation. Around 40 villages will be affected by the food shortage in the region.

A farmer from Zanak tlang area told Khonumthung that only one village out of eleven villages of Zanak tlang area has produced an adequate amount for half of this year. The rest of the villagers will face acute food shortage.

“We produced around 700 tins of paddy only for the whole village as much paddy was destroyed by the storm. Normally we produce around 30,000 tins annually for our village,” said a villager.

Similarly, people of 30 villages lost their crops due to erratic climate in Mara tlang areas, said Lalawmpuia, Editor of Hakha Post. But the people of Than Tlang Township could not get rice from the jhuming cultivation this year, so local people will face food shortage from early next year, he said.

“Some villagers have got rice amounting to 10 to 15 tins this year. So the villagers have little rice with them. The villagers will face acute food shortage from next year because of lack of cultivation in their fields,” said Lalawmpuia.

Chin state is located in the north-west Burma, bordering India and Bangladesh. Most of the Chin state is hilly and mountainous having an average height of 4,000 ft. The main livelihood is from agriculture and shifting cultivation or slash and burn farming, which is widely practiced. And the crops are collected for their daily use by the state’s population.

A survey conducted in 2010 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found that Chin State remains the poorest state among 14 regions and states in Burma with 73.3% per cent of the people below the poverty line.

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