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Associated Press
Myanmar rice farmers uproot paddy sprouts to replant in rain-fed rice fields, in Naypyitaw Myanmar, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Planting rice traditionally in Myanmar

– Flooded paddy fields stretch along both sides of the highway leading to Myanmar’s capital where thousands of farmworkers, mostly women, uproot sprouts and then gently tap them on their feet to remove mud from the roots. Others walk through the mist, balancing sprouts on bamboo poles.

They break at midday for lunch, sitting and sharing what little food they have with visitors. When monsoon rains start pelleting down once again, they cover themselves with colorful plastic sheets, some laughing, singing and dancing as the water seeps through, leaving them soaking wet.

Myanmar, which was the world’s largest exporter of rice in the early 1960s, today can barely keep up with domestic demand. The government is trying to change that, encouraging farmers to use modern techniques that increase yields, like incubating seedlings in nurseries and then transplanting them.

But those near the capital say they prefer the old way of doing things. It’s easier and cheaper, they argue, to plant seeds directly in the paddies.

To view some photos of the rice replanting in Myanmar, click here.


AP photographers on Twitter: