Rakhine state located on the western coast of Myanmar also the second poorest state in Myanmar. According to the World Bank, about 15 per cent of Myanmar’s poor resides at Rakhine state where most of the Rohingya lives.
The state is also highly vulnerable to unexpected weather extremes as well as longer-term climate change. The vulnerability also includes increased unsustainable land and water management practices adding shrimp ponds and rice fields in a manner that weakens the fragile ecosystem. Also, two waves of genocidal brutality respectively in 2012 and 2017- where hundreds of Rohingyas been killed and their home burned to ashes – add further misery.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) some 28600 hectares of lowland rice farming in the Rakhine States are affected by Salinity. Also, farm sizes in the following state tend to be small with almost 50 per cent being less than 1 hectare. Whereas around 85 per cent of the cultivated agricultural land is used for rice paddy.
Food consumption among households comprises of two meals per day. This has been also restricted in 2018 compared to the time in 2017. Households relies largely on food assistance that complements what was left of their rice stocks.
The food production is constrained by a number of structural issues including the inability to access their farmland due to restriction, lack of security, affordable credit, agricultural inputs and machinery as well as post-harvest facilities shortage. The genocidal campaigns have also impacted on the farmer’s ability to produce.
A large proportion of the households in the Northern District and IDPs depend on food assistance from the UN and other NGO’s. The reliance on food assistance will continue until they regain access to their land and livelihoods.