Objection to farmland law changes draft bill
ALMOST 50 Civil Society Groups strongly objected to the facts related to the Farmland Law amendment draft hearing session in the parliament held in June.
Land In Our Hand (LIOH) network, released a statement on July 19 and held a press conference on July 23 in Yangon on 2012 Farmland Law Amendment Bill to be discussed in parliament.
The statement highlighted that since the current laws have been developed without the consent of the farmers and communities, they do not provide protection for land tenure and social security of the farmers.
This process of reforming the current laws in turn has been rushed and driven one, so the plan to carry out consultation for farmland law amendment poses the risk to make current land disputes and issues even more complicated, accorrding to LIOH.
U Si Thu, secretary of LIOH said the existing 2012 Farmland Law and the 2012 Vacant, Fallow, Virgin land Law have been drafted without consultation or getting the informed opinion and consent of the farmers.
“The definition of farmer itself is not said to be fair in the law. It is drawn to profit cronies or private companies rather than focusing on small-scale farmers.
“Amending the provisions about seasonal crops can be interpreted as favouring project crops, so we consider these as dangerous amendments. The amendment does not comply with and go against the National Land Use Policy 2016,” he said.
The Farmland Law amendment bill was published in the statedowned paper on June 16 for public consultation.
Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation said in early February that to resolve disputes over confiscated lands and to streamline the process of returning them to the rightful owners, the Union government will amend two land-related laws.
From July 17 to 19, members of the LIOH network – 90 representatives from 48 organisations from each state and region discussed and analysed the 16 points bill published and later issue the statement.
The civil society organisations are calling for the Farmland Law amendment draft be modified and discuss the findings of three-day workshop with the parliamentarians prior to any discussion of Farmland law amendment bill.
David Khin Zaw, representative of Doe Myay People Development Network (Tontay, Yangon Region) told The Myanmar Times that if the land law deviates from its original objective and does not reflect the ground reality, it will then be a big loss for the economy.
“If the farmers are not protected with effective land laws, the related agri business will also face losses. That will have a huge impact on the country’s GDP,” he said.
U Si Thu said if the government fails to response to the network’s demands, LIOH network will carry out tough campaigns to protect farmers’ rights.