This Interview with Saw A-- describes his perspective on events occurring in Pyu Township, Bago Region bordering Moo Township in Karen National Union [KNU] territory area, during the period between 2015 and 2017, including a decrease in the price of rice, livelihoods’ challenges, education, health, social events and development.
Since the price of rice dropped in 2016, farmers from B--- village, also known as C--- village, Eastern Ka Nyut Kwin Town, Pyu Township, Bago Region and other areas have faced challenges in their livelihoods. As a result, they struggled to organise social events and to afford health expenditure and to provide financial support for their children’s education. Many young people chose to migrate to Thailand or Mandalay and the Irrawaddy region to seek out job opportunities.
Villagers highlighted the difference in the price of rice in recent years between the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National League for Democracy (NLD) governments; the price of rice during the USDP government was 600,000 kyat [US $441.81] per 100 baskets, but it fell to 400,000 kyat [US $294.54] per 100 baskets of rice during the NLD government.
Saik Bank loans money to the farmers in B--- villagers, but the cost of hiring daily workers is higher than the price they receive for their rice, so farmers are in a difficult situation when it comes to repaying their debt because they have to sell more rice than previously in order to have the same income.
• Villagers reported this issue in order to get attention from the government and they also request the Burma/Myanmar government to consider their points and address the low price of rice and the comparatively high cost of labour.