Narinjara news


Sittwe, 19
th February 02 :    The price of rice, the staple food of the people of Myanmar, recently shot up sharply in the south-western state of Myanmar due to forced shut-down of all privately owned rice mills, our correspondent writes.

In a bid to realize the target of rice purchase in the 2001  2002 rice season, the State Peace and Development Council junta of Myanmar took some drastic measures against the interest of the rice growers, one of which is complete shut-down of small private rice mills.  As a result the price of one kg of rice has gone up from kyat 40 to kyat 120 within one month in the interior areas, and in the border areas of Maungdaw and Buthidaung a kilo of rice is now selling at kyat 250.

According to a rice merchant from Mrauk U,  because of the junta-adopted measures there is an artificial shortage in supply of rice in the open market already.   The rice growers also could not maintain their usual annual rice stock as the junta resorted to collecting rice from the growers by applying the force of its troops.   With the passing of days the situation is aggravating  since there is no government supply of rice in co-operative shops or through rationing in the towns for the consumption  of the general public as before. 

Meanwhile the private rice mill owners are milling rice by bribing the local Military Intelligence agents in the interior hard to reach areas of Rakhine State.  Quoting a rice mill owner our correspondent added that, the previous price for milling ten kg of rice was kyat 20 while at present it is kyat 50, because each of the mill owners has to bribe an amount of kyat 50,000 to kyat 100,000 for 'clandestine' milling of rice to the junta intelligence agents during the harvest season.  #