Myanmar needs $243 mn in agricultural aid: FAO

May 14th, 2008 - 10:30 pm ICT by admin  

Bangkok, May 14 (DPA) Myanmar’s cyclone-devastated Irrawaddy Delta - the country’s rice bowl - will need more than $200 million in agricultural aid soon to prevent a severe food shortage this year and next, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Wednesday. “Every dollar spent now on agriculture will save $10 in food aid next year,” predicted FAO spokesman Diderik de Vleschauwer.

The Myanmar government Tuesday told the FAO it will need about $243 million to purchase rice seeds, fertilizers and to rehabilitate paddy embarkments and irrigation systems in the Irrawaddy Delta to ready it for the main rice crop in the monsoon season, which has already started.

The Irrawaddy Delta account for an estimated 60 percent of Myanmar’s annual rice crop.

The cyclone Nargis hit when farmers had already harvested the smaller winter crop, but many had not yet started planting the main monsoon crop. “Whatever they had stored for consumption and for seed, that’s gone,” said Vledchauwer.

He said the FAO would be conducting its own assessment of the amount of aid needed in the coming week and was likely to issue an international appeal within the next three weeks.

Besides agriculture, the Myanmar government estimated it will need another $20 million in aid to restore livestock in the Irrawaddy Delta.

The aid for the region’s destroyed fisheries could not be estimated. “For fisheries we have not received an estimate but it is going to be huge,” predicted Vledchauwer.

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