‘The Mirror’ newspaper of the former military government reported the issue of Yam project. It said that U Ohn Than, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation answered questions from U Stephen Tha Bik of Chin state constituency (4) on supporting the elephant yam project in Chin state on September 5. He added that elephant yam special plantation zones are being implemented.
The report also said that the Environmental Conservation and Forestry Ministry have been distributing elephant yam seeds to the Victoria National Park (Locally known as Natmataung), and its related areas in the state since 2010. Model project villages Okpo, Makyaukha, Zawyaung and Yelaungpan are now bringing 50 acres under elephant yam plantation.
However, the central government’s agricultural loan cannot be granted as yet for elephant yam cultivation as all loans target major crops like paddy, groundnut, sesame, pulses and beans, cotton, maize, oil mustard, jute and sugarcane.
The Chin state government began data collection from July 2012, which reveals that seven lakh Kyats for elephant yam plantation per acre and 4 lakh Kyats for monkey rice (locally called Zawngta) plantation is to be allotted to Tonzang Township, Chin state.
Dry elephant yam will be sold for 1000 Kyats in local markets while it is 300 Kyats for non-dry yam per kilogram. Elephant yam is cultivated in Chin state, said a local from Matupi.
“Elephant yam can be planted in any area of the state. It grows naturally in the jungles. I plant it myself but the local authorities said that the government cannot give loans for private cultivation,” said a local.
A survey by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has found that Chin State remains the poorest state among 14 regions and states in Burma with 73.3% per cent of the people living below the poverty line since July 2011.
As a result, tens of thousands of Chin refugees are in neighboring countries and worldwide. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in New Delhi, capital of India has said that Chins, who have applied for refugee status, are dealing with growing numbers of underage children without their parents in New Delhi. Khonumthung news