Maintaining the rice value chain
At the end of the rice harvest season, traders usually come to the villages to purchase the rice paddy directly from farmers and transport it to rice mills for further processing and marketing. However, during the pandemic in 2020 and again during the crisis in 2021, the value chain was disrupted. Due to lockdowns and restrictions in movement, rice traders were not able to enter many villages. Yet, the members of the cooperatives Doe Letha Mar and Khit Thit were able to react quickly. On behalf of them, Board members of both organisations contacted the rice mills, bargained the price, and organised transportation. The full harvest of all members was sold even with a slightly increased profit in 2020.
The two rice cooperatives are currently struggling with soaring input-factor prices. Fertilizers cost almost triple compared to the year before. For many farmers rice production becomes hardly sustainable. Income from sales barely covers the costs and net-surplus for the families diminished. During this challenging time, the members of the cooperative met frequently to discuss their situation. Acknowledging that a quick solution cannot be achieved, both groups have been developing plans to diversify their business in order to weather the current challenge jointly with results yet to be seen.