Rice price steadily goes down in western Burma
Sittwe, 29 November 02: The price of rice in the western part of Burma has recorded a steady but slow downward slide due to forced harvest of only just ripe rice and the official rationing of rice to the state employees, according to our correspondent from Sittwe, the capital of Burma’s western state, Arakan (Rakhine).
The price for a fifty kg bag of rice has been officially earmarked at kyat 3,600. Severe rice shortage in the recent months has forced the military authority to take the steps in fear of a wide discontent among the people. The monthly salary given to a high school teacher is not even enough to buy two bags of rice, a discontented schoolteacher told our correspondent.
The rice so rationed is of a boiled variety, strong smelling and musty due to long storage in substandard warehouses, a manager of the State Agricultural Department said. Many state employees sell the deteriorated price to private rice sellers who carry them to the Buthidaung – Maungdaw area where they fetch a better price.
The price of Pawsan-hmwe variety of fine rice has come down from kyat 25,000 to kyat 18,000; the price of Ngasein variety of coarse rice has come down from kyat 18,000 to kyat 13,000. Though the prices are still high, people can now at least afford to fill their stomachs, said a schoolteacher from Maungdaw. On October 22, an honest Immigration officer Myint Thein died in Maungdaw from complications arising from ‘malnutrition’ and lack of medical treatment that he could not afford, he added.
The present rice crisis is being tackled with the interference of the Burmese junta officials, but due to crop failure in Burma Proper because of this year’s flood, the price of rice may not be kept under control next year, said a rice merchant from Sittwe. #