Myanmar

Mercy Corps Market Analysis Unit: Farmer Snapshot: Central Rakhine State (Dec. 2021)

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Jonathan Keesecker

December 3, 2021 - In the first week of November, the Market Analysis Unit (MAU) conducted phone interviews with farmers in Central Rakhine State to better understand market access and the 2021 paddy season. Data are based on a convenience sample of 142 Mercy Corps program participants. This report is a follow-up survey of the same respondents interviewed one year ago. MAU reports are available online at www.themimu.info/market-analysis-unit.

Key Highlights

  • Most respondents earned less income in October compared to last year, and some have no savings;- - Most respondents said the availability of most products was good in October, although some struggled to find medicines, cooking oil and other NFIs, and all struggled with rising prices;

  • More than half of all respondents said access to cash was a barrier to acquiring goods;

  • Food insecurity indicators have improved since October 2020, particularly the most severe ones;

  • Three-quarters of respondents struggled to access livelihood inputs, and half struggled to find labor;

  • Paddy farmers currently expect similar yields to last year, despite difficulties acquiring inputs.

Financial Health of Households

Most respondents reported lower income in October compared to the same time last year, and one-third said their household had no savings. In general, respondents painted a picture of financial hardship. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said their monthly income was lower than last year, and just 7% said it was higher. Moreover, 34% percent said their household had no savings at the start of November. Fifty-one percent of those with savings said it would cover expenses for only one or two months.

More than half of all respondents addressed household financial hardship by borrowing, spending from savings, selling an asset or reducing non-food spending. Common coping mechanisms in October included borrowing (67%), spending from savings (60%), reducing non-food purchases (59%), or selling assets (51%). Coping mechanisms were similar across townships, although spending savings was most often reported in Ponnagyun,
Pauktaw and Mrauk U Townships. Some respondents appear to be depleting savings, as 52% of those who spent savings in October said they no longer had savings at the start of November. Receiving unconditional aid was very rare among respondents (4%).