Shwebo drought leaves farmers in trouble, kills plants

Photo A farmland in Shwebo District dries out due to drought

​11 Sep 18 - Eleven MyanmarShwebo District in Sagaing Region has been hit by a untimely drought causing difficulty with monsoon paddy growing while outright leading some plantations to wither and die, according to local sources.

In the district, the areas without access to a dam that have to rely on rainwater. The drought has caused cultivation problems for the local farmers. Only the areas that have access to irrigated water can grow their crops.

"Here, we have too little rain to grow crops. Due to the drought, we don't have water for the fields where we cultivated crops with the water in earlier rain season. So, plants have died. Some farmers pour water on their plantations with the water they are pumping from the wells which is a costly effort. Unless we are able to grow crops by this month, we will be running out of time to do it. Without the monsoon paddy, both humans and cattles will have difficulty with food," said a local famer from Moegaung Village in Shwebo District.

Most farmers in Moegaung have not been able to grow monsoon paddy and some already-cultivated plantations are now ruined due to the drought. Irrigating water to the paddy plantations through pumps will cost a lot more as about five gallons of diesel have to be bought for per acre plantation worth of water supply. Some villages in Khin-U Township, Shwebo District, are said to be holding tug-of-war competitions as a ritualistic gesture of calling for rain in the Myanmar tradition.

Shwebo District grows paddy as the main crop, and other crops such as groundnut, sesame, pigeon pea and maize. Local rely on irrigation system and rainwater for growing crops.

While drought occurs in central Myanmar, lower regions such as Taninthayi, Bago, Mon and Kayin are suffering floods caused by heavy rain, destroying or damaging over 100,000 acres of plantations. 

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