Farmers in Namkham township that couldn’t export their corn to China after the border closed were forced to throw their spoiled corn into the Shweli (aka Ruili) River.
Sai Than Myint told SHAN that farmers threw away 20 truckloads of corn into the river on May 5. “We waited 5 nights to sell our corn in China but when we couldn’t cross the border it rotted or it dried up and we had to throw it in the Ruili River or to the roadside,” the farmer said.
After an 87-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19 in Muse, the Chinese government shut the border between Namkham and China.
Chinese police were stationed at entry points to prevent anyone from crossing. Sai Than Myint told SHAN over 100 officers are guarding the border. “They are really afraid of Burmese nationals crossing into China.”
Farmers in Namkham township want the Burmese government to help them. “Nobody has come to observe the situation here yet and we’ve lost a lot of money,” said Sai Sai. After sleeping at the border for many nights, waiting for permission to cross, they had no choice but to throw their corn away and return home.
Sai Tun Hlaing said the government needs to find a solution to this problem. After losing their income because of the border closure, many of the farmers are in debt.
The Chinese government announced the border will be closed for 60 days and warned it would punish anyone caught trying to illegally cross.