Burmese army forces farmers to “donate” paddy in Lamine Township

Wed 04 Mar 2009, Arka, IMNA
The Burmese army is requiring farmers to provide paddy, say local sources in, Lamine Sub Township, Mon State.

For the last ten days, farmers in Thaung Pyin village have each been required to provide a half sack of paddy to Light Infantry Battalion [IB] No. 587, a farmer told IMNA. Farmers who do not wish to provide paddy are required to pay 3,000 kyat instead. LIB No. 587, based 6 miles away near Arutaung village, northern Ye Township, controls the area.

“Every family who has a paddy field has to pay. The soldiers said if people do not want to provide paddy, they have to pay 3,000 kyat of money,” said another farmer, who added that Thaung Pyin village is home to 400 farmers.

Most farmers are paying money rather than providing paddy, the farmer said. “The paddy price is low, so we want to pay paddy. But if we pay the half sack of paddy, we have to transport it to the battalion [6 miles away in Arutaung]. For that reason, more people pay money.” A half sack of paddy is currently worth 4,000 kyat, and many farmers are also storing paddy in the hopes that prices will rise later during the rainy season.

Paddy quotas have been common in Burma for decades, with farmers required to “donate” portions of their crop or sell to government buyers at artificially low prices. Though the policy was officially abolished in 2003, farmers continue report being required to provide free or discount paddy to the Burmese army.

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