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Home Global Activities Asia Tzu Chi Gives Quality Seeds to 7,000 Farmers in Myanmar

Tzu Chi Gives Quality Seeds to 7,000 Farmers in Myanmar

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"If Tzu Chi did not provide rice seeds for me, I would plant legumes instead. But I also would need to take a loan that has an interest rate" – Umiun, a farmer in Myanmar, voiced his concern. Myanmar has been suffering from floods for several years and large areas of crops were destroyed, causing farmers devastating losses.

This year two months of unusually heavy monsoon rain caused severe flooding. The damage put farmers in a terrible situation. In order to help them recover, Tzu Chi has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture to distribute rice seed to nearly 7,000 farmers in Taikyi Town of Yangon City. During their home visits, volunteers walked along the muddy paths and were determined to help.

Tzu Chi continued to distribute rice seeds to farmers so they could begin to plant rice collectively again. Many farmers were already in a difficult financial situation. They depend entirely on the harvest to support their families and repay the loans they borrowed from the government. The floods put them in a worse situation.

Waiting for the rice seeds to grow

During relief work after Cyclone Nargis in 2008, volunteers discovered the problem of loans among farmers. As a result, they started distributing seed and fertilizer, to enable farmers to escape from poverty. If they fertilize their paddy field properly, they can expect an increase in their harvest.

It was difficult to make home visits in Taikyi Town; each house is separated from others by large paddy fields. Volunteers had to ride on motorbikes and walk along muddy roads in order to reach each house. After receiving the seeds, farmer Umiun said that the help was timely. If Tzu Chi did not give the rice seeds, he might choose to plant legumes. But this would require a loan and he could not estimate how much he would harvest because he excels only in planting rice.

Every farmer immediately prepared to plant the seeds. Ununwu, a second farmer, said: "I received 10packs of rice seed. After germination, I could sow the new crops two days later. The rice seeds first should be immersed in water and exposed to the sun so that they would germinate faster." The faster it germinates, the higher quality of rice seeds is required. Ununwu said he would not put the whole pack in the water because mud on the pack would influence the quality of germination. As he spread the seeds on the ground, his face was full of joy.

A new start to farming

When the seeds sprouted, they brought new hope to Taikyi Town -- farmers would be able to reimburse the government loans before next March. When they saw the farmers begin ploughing the fields after the floods had receded, the volunteers were so happy that they forgot their tiredness.

Myanmar has experienced floods for years, so farmers have been unable to harvest. To deal with this problem, Tzu Chi has been collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture on rice distribution. Farmer Ununwu said: "I am preparing to sow the germinated rice seeds which I received from Tzu Chi. It will be a great harvest time and I hope there will be no more floods."

(Article by Tzu Chi volunteers in Myanmar, 10/12/2015)



 
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