Narinjara news

New Body to control rice sales and production?

Sittwe, 12
th June 03:  The recent formation of a powerful Rice Control Committee in Burma has raised high concern among the rice growers in Rakhine State in the western part of Burma.

The Committee, led by the General Secretary  2 of the State Peace and Development Council junta of Burma, is composed of Minister  1 of the Ministry of Industries, State Minister of Trade and Commerce, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, two representatives from the Association of the Owners of Business Houses, two representatives from the Merchants Association, and two representatives from the Rice Mill Owners Association, according to sources in the agricultural department.

Considered as the central committee for control and manipulation of the dealings in rice including export, the newly formed Rice Control Committee has already been dubbed as the ‘newer version of the old rice procurement committees’ by the growers of rice in the state.

Across Rakhine State members of the now defunct ‘Rice Procurement Committees’ have been reported to explain the duties and responsibilities of the newly formed Rice Control Committee among the villagers and farmers in the state, beginning from Buthidaung and Maungdaw Townships recently.

According to a reliable source the cause behind the scrapping up of the Rice Procurement Committee lies in the fact that last year due to forced purchase of rice from the growers that led to an artificial-famine like situation, the farmers in Rakhine State, Irrawaddy Division and Mon State went to the point of raising a revolt against the ruling SPDC junta’s rice procurement policies.

The price of one hundred tinns (bushels) of rice stood at least kyat 150,000 in the open market while the junta paid only kyat 30,000 for purchasing the same amount that led to large-scale discontent among the farmers.  The price given was not even enough to cover the production costs, a farmer said. Added to it were the burdens of repayment of forcefully given agricultural loans, interests involved in it, and occasional demand for more rice for the Army Families’ Welfare Association.  #