Farmers are calling on governments on both sides of the border to address the issue.
Farmers in northern Shan State’s Namkham Township say they are no longer able to sell their produce across the border in neighboring China because of an apparent ban imposed by the Chinese authorities.
While other exports continue to flow through the Nawng Tawng border checkpoint as usual, fruits, vegetables and other crops are being blocked, the farmers say.
“The Chinese authorities allow trucks carrying timber and charcoal to go through, but if a vehicle loaded with fresh produce tries to pass, its owner will be detained and the truck and produce will be seized,” said Sai Pee, a local farmer who spoke to SHAN about the matter.
Most farmers in Namkham depend on access to the Chinese market. The current situation, they say, is driving down the value of their produce and threatening their livelihoods.
Namkham farmers have sold their crops in the Chinese border town of Ruili, across the Shweli River from the Shan State town of Muse, for years. It is unclear why this trade has suddenly been brought to a standstill.
On April 13, the Namkham Farmers’ Association released a statement urging governments on both sides of the border to address the issue.