Bloom gone from flower farms

A land dispute has turned off the irrigation taps and hurt crop yields in Mandalay Region’s Kan Kyi Kome, according to area farmers.

The flower farmers in Mandalay Region’s Pyin Oo Lwin township claim the land was confiscated from them in 2005 to build a pharmaceutical factory, but they continued growing flowers on the unused land around the factory in a live-and-let-live arrangement until a meeting last month.

On May 23 factory officials met with the farmers, warning them not to cultivate flowers on the land. While negotiations about land use are continuing with the factory owners, the farmers must vacate in August, according to farmer U Phyo Lin Zaw.

The factory had also provided water for the farmers, but the taps have been shut off following the May 23 meeting, putting the flower crops at risk, he said.

“We are now facing water difficulties because the flowers need watering every two days, and gasoline to run the pumps cost K6000 for one use,” he said.

Factory official U Than Htoo said at the May 23 meeting that he will work with top company officials to provide compensation in cash or land for the farmers if they are forced to vacate the land.

Flower prices have also declined this year due to their poorer quality, increasing the difficulties for the farmers, said flower farmer Daw Than Myint.

A bouquet of flowers from the Kan Kyi Kome fields fetches between K700 and K800 wholesale this year, less than half of last year’s high of K1800, farmers said.

Daw Than Myint said farmers will have no choice but to vacate if the factory demands it.

“We will have to go if they tell us to move out. Now they don’t supply us with water anymore,” she said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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