Myanmar Field Survey (3-3)

Floating Vegetable Plots on Inle Lake, Shan

Takashi Kurosaki

Last revision: Aug. 29, 2001

Shan State is famous for its network of periodic markets. Sellers gather from various parts of the state with attractive vegetables and processed foods. Both sellers and buyers are dressed in various ethnic clothes. This photo shows a market in Taunggyi, the capital of South Shan (July 2001).

I like vegetables and vegetable meals in Myanmar. You will be surprised with the rich variety of vegetables sold in these markets. So let's go to villages growing these vegetables. The first trip is to floating tomato plots on Inle Lake.

Inle is a very shallow lake in a basin. As you can see from this photo, people live in houses with high floors to escape humidity and they use boats for transportation.

On the lake, you can find floating plots for tomato cultivation. Farmers sometimes stay in the hut in the photo when they are busy.

Only small boats can access these plots. Farmers also use larger motor boats when they market their tomato.

You can see red tomatoes in this photo. Tomato grown here is a dwarf variety with small fruits. To have a good harvest, pesticides are necessary. But pesticides also pollute lake water, which is a big problem here.

This photo proves that the plots are indeed "floating". Inle Lake is only a couple of meters deep. With long bamboo sticks, you can move plots to any place you like. Due to environmental reasons, new reclamation of floating plots is prohibited. Therefore, farmers trade the existing stock of floating plots.

We interviewed villagers in the house of a village head. The house was indeed big. Reflecting the profitability of tomato cultivation, other villagers' houses are also like this one.

From my experiences in rural South Asia, I always look for working bovines in Myanmar. This is my favorite photo with a buffalo bathing in the pier of our survey village.

Here is another photo of bovines in Myanmar. A bullock cart is passing in front of the village head's house. The bullock cart has additional horizon bars to support sugarcane.

Cats in Rural Myanmar@ Working Farmers and Livestock in Myanmar@ Rice Growing Village in Lower Myanmar@ Floating Vegetable Plots on Inle Lake, Shan@ Highland Vegetable Village in Shan

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