The Burmese military is stealing djenkol bean from farms in villages between Waingmaw and Laiza, according to farmers.
Locals say the villages include, Gara Yang, Katsu Yang, Dabak Yang, Ja Pu village, Awng Ja Yang, and Sampai villages.
The farms were abandoned from villagers who fled after a Burmese military offensive against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). They are now living in internally displaced camps (IDPs) in the Kachin Independence Organization, or KIO-controlled areas or Waingmaw (near Myitkyina), since June 9, 2011.
One villager from Dabak Yang said, when he returned to his farm most of his produce was gone.
Typically a farmer can earn between 60,000 (US $68.64) to 500,000 (US $572) a year depending on the size of their land. But when the villager returned to his farm, after the Burmese military looted it, he was only able to scrape up about 20,000 kyats (US $22.88) from the fruit that was left behind.
For villagers to return to their farms they must have ID cards and a recommendation letter from the Burmese military. By the time they get the letter it’s too late to pass through the checkpoints.
In the meantime the soldiers have already harvested the beans and sold it for their own profit.
One villager told the Kachin News Group (KNG), a woman named Ma Win is buying most it from the military before they can return to their farms.
“A woman named Ma Win is buying the djenkol beans from government troops by the road. The stolen produce is stored in a building between Ga Ra Yang and Sambai villages. Ma Win comes to pick it up in her truck before we have the chance to get to our farms. We have to return to the Waingmaw Baptist Church IDP Camp by 3:30 pm (or risk arrest),” said the villager.
The villagers who relied on the djenkol bean as the source of their family income have been made destitute from the military who plundered their farms. As it takes nearly 7 or 8 years for the trees to bear fruit, the farmers’ futures have also been destroyed.