Myanmar

Taking steps to protect agricultural production and livelihoods in Rakhine State

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with the support of the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund, has provided cash assistance to 1 200 farming families in at-risk villages across Buthidaung and Maungdaw Townships in Rakhine State. Each of these farming households received USD 57.8 (MMK 105 000) to meet their immediate food needs and other household expenses. Landless seasonal workers and female-headed households also benefited from the intervention. Together with the cash grant, FAO provided 500 families with fertilizer, rice, vegetable seeds, a basic nutrition guide and training on good farming practices. In addition, to mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19, FAO provided informational materials, hygiene items and personal protective gear to all households who benefited from the project.

Sustained armed conflict in Rakhine State, particularly after 2017, has resulted in inadequate access to land, credit, agricultural inputs, machinery, and post-harvest storage facilities. Consequently, agricultural production has been constrained the state. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and socio-economic instability following the February 2021 military coup, which continues to worsen the food security situation across the country. Moreover, extreme weather events, such as heavy rains and floods, continue to put agricultural production and productivity at risk, which has led to reduced job opportunities in the agriculture sector.

Daw Khin May, 32 years old, lives in Done Chaung Village, Buthidaung Township with her two children and husband, who is a casual labourer that benefited from FAO’s support. Life has been difficult for this family of four since the start of the pandemic, as they have not had a reliable source of income. She enthusiastically expressed her gratitude for the support her family received, which was critical during the pandemic in which there were severe job shortages.