Myanmar

Myanmar: Mass distribution of buffaloes begins in Nargis ravaged areas

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[October 30, 2008], Yangon, Myanmar - Funded through a generous donation from Pricewaterhouse Coopers Charitable Foundation, 353 farm families received buffalos to restock animals lost when cyclone Nargis struck the delta last June. This donation will help hard hit families recover their livelihoods and resume household food production, an FAO statement said today.

Each of the 353 families received a pair of buffalos. The project beneficiaries will use the draught animals to prepare their lands for planting, and neighbouring families will also get their lands cultivated by either hiring or borrowing the animals.

The buffalos will increase the family income of the farmers, and allowing them to support other basic needs through the leasing of draught animals or selling of their produce.

Together, the 706 buffalos will plough the rice paddy fields of close to 3 000 families.

"The provision of the buffalos is a great boon for the families and their neighbours", said Dr Ye Tun Win, Veterinary and Livestock Advisor. "They can restock their farm animals, have manure for the paddy fields, and sufficient draught power for ploughing some 1200 hectares of land," he added.

"One hundred buffaloes and cattle went to Dedaye, and 156 buffaloes to Bogale," according to Thanawat Tiensin, Livestock Advisor. The buffaloes and cattle will be distributed through these regions together with 20 tons of feed. In Pyapon, 150 buffaloes were distributed while another 300 went to Kungyangon.

Procurement and distribution of buffaloes was arranged by FAO and the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) of the ministry of livestock and fisheries.

The majority of the animals were procured at the Okan Market in Taikkyi Township, Yangon (North) District and were in good health. Veterinary inspection, vaccination and quarantine were carried out.

With the Price Waterhouse Cooper donation through FAO - USD 500 000 (equivalent to 600,000,000 Kyat) - and in collaboration with LBVD, animal health care and vaccination after distribution of draught animals will be provided.

In addition to this, technical leaflets, written in the local language, were disseminated for better awareness and knowledge of farmers on better feeding and cultivation patterns.

FAO is leading training at the township level in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, forestry (mangroves), and livestock/animal health. The focus of the workshops is to ensure that the aid distributed will be used to its best potential.

The inability to plant during the 2008-2009 seasons would put many families under great economic threat and food insecurity, FAO added.

Over 49 percent of buffaloes and cattle were drowned or lost in cyclone Nargis affected areas. If draught animals are not replaced soon, approximately 122 000 hectares of rice paddy cannot be planted or only planted in insufficiently prepared lands, resulting in significantly lower yields.

As of 28 October, 3 859 buffaloes and cattle (including the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Charitable Foundation's donation) were distributed to affected families in Ayeyarwaddy and Yangon Divisions, representing 1.7 percent of lost animals.

For follow-up media inquiries contact:
Nilar Andrea Chit Tun, Communications Officer, FAO Myanmar, Nilar.ChitTun@fao.org