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The Collapse of Tea Market, Plunges Tea Farmers into Crisis

By Ta'ang Palaung Working Group  •  June 6, 2011

Ta’ang (Palaung) Working Group has revealed and released a briefing paper on the huge economic crisis that Ta’ang people are facing in 2011 due to the decline of tea prices and the collapse of the tea market.

Although the tea price was good and many tea traders bought tea during the Shwe Pyi Oo (first harvest), one week later the price of tea fell sharply and only a few traders were buying tea. Consequently, the tea market became very weak and tea production almost came to a halt.  Tea production is the main source of income for over (600,000) six hundred thousand Ta’ang people.

As the main source of income of the Ta’ang people is in crisis, the local population are facing many economic, social, educational and health related problems. These problems, have forced many Ta’ang people to migrate within Burma and to other countries.

According to the local people, almost all the villagers from around Namhsan and Man Ton Townships are leaving to work in China. “In our areas, Captain Than Htun and Na Gar Pyan (Flying Dragon) tea industries monopolize the tea market and tea farms have plunged into crisis. Therefore almost everyone in our village goes to work in China. This year the tea price is low, a lot of rain made the tea mature quickly and people are not allowed to produce charcoal, so people have to find any way they can to make ends meet.”

Burma’s new military government and other organizations have not addressed the crisis that the Ta’ang people are facing as a result of the decline of the tea industry. Therefore, the Ta’ang (Palaung) working group has produced this briefing paper highlighting the problems that Ta’ang tea cultivators are facing. Our objective is to inform people and to help solve these problems in the Ta’ang area.

“The Burmese new military government should review its economic principles and policies. In addition they should allow the tea market to be independent and stop the restrictions and exploitation of the tea business. Ultimately, the root causes of the problems that the people of Burma face are political crisis, to address this, the regime must begin to engage in a genuine political dialogue,” said Mai Aung Ko, a team member of Ta’ang (Palaung) Working Group.

This briefing paper is available for download in Burmese and English here.

Contact: 66 (0)80 118 4479, 66 (0)82 225 1569

Download this press release in Burmese here.

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This post is in: Business and Human Rights, Environmental and Economic Justice, Press Release

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