Arakanese Farmers Forced to Sell Rice to the Burmese Army
Sittwe, March 23: The troops under the Western Command of the Burmese Army have been buying rice from the Arakanese local farmers since February the 16th.
Though some farmers received money in return, in some areas there have been cases of farmers being robbed of rice by the army.
“In the remote villages, especially those up-stream on the Lay Myo River, the army buys 10 Tinn ( a tinn equivalent to 32 kg) with money and then force farmers to give 10 more Tinn for free as a ‘donation’ to the army,” said a local farmer from Mrauk-Oo.
In Mrauk-Oo and Kyauk Taw townships, there were some reports that the local Military Intelligence (MI) and the local troops looted rice from the farmers to fill up their yearly supply.
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“They only pay 900 kyats for a tinn of rice. However in the Receipt they write 1,280 kyats. They say the discrepancy is to cover the costs of the soldiers’ trip to collect the rice.” The farmer informed us.
In the whole of Arakan, the army personnel, with the help of the local administrative authorities from the Peace and Development Councils are forcing the farmers to sell rice for their supply. However, since the rice price is declining, there are incidents in some regions of willing cooperation from the farmers.
Some business people suggest that the rice was bought for the export market, though the authority claims it for the Army supply, due to the large quantity of the Army purchase. #