The government plans to support rice farmers by buying more than 100,000 tonnes of the staple in the coming weeks, the chairman of the buffer stock purchasing committee, U Chit Khine, told Mizzima on November 4.

U Chit Khine welcomed indications that the government would increase the allocation to buy rice for the buffer stock.

“The amount provided by the government to subsidize the purchase of buffer stock rice in previous years was quite low,” he said.

“But this year, both the government and the parliament have shown interest in buying more rice for the buffer stock.”

U Chit Khine said the rice would be bought in January and the price would be fixed at rates that were fair to farmers.

“The rates will be fixed after negotiations but we have to wait and see what the parliament will do,” U Chit Khine said.

Because of a late harvest the rates were yet to be set, he said, but added that they would exceed market prices.

The late harvest was caused by widespread flooding which forced many farmers to re-plant their crops, resulting in higher production costs.

Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Khine Maung Yi (NLD, Ahlone constituency) urged the government to set a price that ensured farmers did not suffer a loss.

“One of the problems farmers face is that prices go down at harvest time and they are unable to cover their production costs,” U Khine Maung Yi said.

“Buying rice for the buffer stock is not just about profit and loss; this rice must be bought for the sake of the country,” he said.