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Rice shortage in western Burma Arakan State
Aug 23, 2005 (DVB) - An acute shortage of staple rice at villages within Sittwe (Akyab) and Ponnakyun Townships, Arakan State in western Burma, caused by the monopolisation on rice trade by the Burmese army and a merchant organisation, is leaving many people at risk of hunger.

A local resident told DVB that the restrictions on rice transportation from towns to surrounding villages by the army are also causing rice price hike in rural areas making poor villagers harder to survive. Rice merchants have to bribe army checkpoint controllers hundreds of thousands of kyat for the permission to transport rice to villages, prompting unnecessary price hike.

At the same time, people living in the towns are also facing starvation due to lack of jobs, the resident added.

The mountainous Arakan State is rich in natural resources, especially, offshore natural gas, seafood and forest produces, but large amount of rice has to be imported from neighbouring regions.

A severe rice shortage in 1967 caused a major uprising at the state capital Sittwe and up to 100 hungry rice 'looters' were reportedly shot dead by Burmese soldiers on Aug 13. Arakan political activists insist that they were not looters but only peaceful protestors who were caught up in the ploy of the military authorities.
MGR Archive 25.8.2005
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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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