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Farmers unable to harvest crops in Kachin state of Myanmar due to conflicts

The harvest season recently ended in Myanmar and residents in the northern Kachin state have nothing to show for it as continued fighting between the government and the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) left many too frightened to plant, IRIN reports.

Fighting between governmental forces and KIA started again in early June 2011, after a 17-year ceasefire was abandoned.

Most farmers move their rice seedlings in June and then harvest in November and December before the cold sets in. However, last June was the beginning of the conflict, forcing farmers to abandon their crops. Now, most residents are left with no food security to get through the winter.

"When the conflict started we were planting rice but the soldiers came into our village so we couldn't plant," Kot Nan, a local resident and mother of two, told the publication. "This year's harvest was next year's investment, but now we have nothing for the future. We will have to cross the mountains and scavenge for wild vegetables so that we will have something to eat."

According to the news source, most Kachin families rely on farming rice for their livelihood. Without the harvest this season, many are going to be in dire need of assistance.

Thus far, the UN food agency has been able to reach 15,000 displaced citizens in the Kachin state, though humanitarian groups are working diligently to ensure more aid gets delivered, especially with winter progressing.
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