December 8, 2021 - In the first week of November, the Market Analysis Unit (MAU) conducted phone interviews with farmers in Southeast Myanmar to better understand market access and the 2021 paddy season. Data are based on a convenience sample of 69 Mercy Corps program participants located primarily in Demoso, Hpruso and Pekon Townships. MAU reports are available online at www.themimu.info/market-analysis-unit.
Most respondents spent savings and reduced non-food consumption in October amid continued disruptions to markets and livelihoods;
Armed conflict and COVID-19 were barriers to acquiring consumer goods in October, and market access concerns appeared more prominent than concerns about cash access;
Just 45% of respondents traveled outside their village to purchase goods in October;
At least 20% of respondents had much difficulty finding many goods, with cooking oil, non-food items and especially medicines being the most difficult;
Food insecurity indicators are concerning but less so than expected given market access difficulties;
Half of all respondents have reduced planted acreage this year and most report higher input prices.
Instability from armed conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic continued in northern Kayah State and neighboring Southern Shan State in October and November. The region has struggled with conflict and COVID-19 for months and clashes have reached further down the Loikaw-Bawlakhe highway. As tensions continued in Pekon Township, clashes have intensified further south in Demoso, Hpruso and Bawlakhe Townships. As of November, UNHCR reported 10,000 newly displaced individuals in Pekon Township and a total of more than 85,000 displaced in Kayah State.1 These challenges—coupled with those of the COVID-19 pandemic—continue to disrupt transportation and availability of goods in the region.