Confiscated land was relinquished and returned to its original owners at a ceremony yesterday in Kanbalu Sagaing Region, the third such event in recent weeks. A total of 4,932 acres of confiscated land was returned to 528 farmers, marking the third-highest return of confiscated land among all states and regions, said Vice President U Henry Van Thio, the Chairman of the Central Committee for Reviewing Confiscated Farmlands and Other Lands. The Vice President made these remarks in his opening speech at a ceremony in Kanbalu in Sagaing Region yesterday for returning land to its original owners.
The Vice President said departments, companies, and private businesses are allotted property and easement for their projects that involve building roads, infrastructure, and plantations, but the military for various reasons confiscated farmland, resulting in losses for the people. He said relevant organizations have been setting policies, conducting reviews, and returning the confiscated lands to their original owners. The Vice President said Deputy Ministers from the union level have formed four teams to scrutinize confiscated land and are conducting field reviews on the state and regional levels. He said the Union Government was working to establish contract farming for farmers to grow, package and trade their produce.
By doing so, farmers will not need to sell their land for money, but can maintain their fields for generations to come he added.
The Vice President said that Myanmar used to be the top exporter of rice, but gradually became one of the lesser exporters. But in fiscal year 2017-2018, rice exports reached a record high of 3.58 million metric tons, the highest in 73 years. Fiscal year 2017-2018 saw exports from agricultural products reaching US$3.08 billion, of which 37 per cent was from rice exports generating US$1.14 billion.
The Vice President urged local residents to register their vacant and virgin land at their respective state or regional Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Committee. He said that if their lands were registered, when agricultural production becomes stable, their lands could be converted into farmland, according to Farmland Law.
The Vice President requested all officials involved in reviewing and scrutinizing confiscated land to have patience as resolving these issues could be complicated and take long periods of time. He then expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Defence, Sagaing Region Government and regional ministries, on behalf of the Central Committee for Reviewing Confiscated Farmlands and Other Lands and urged the farmers to use the lands returned to them for their personal benefit, their region’s benefit, and the nation’s benefit.
Afterwards, Chairman of Sagaing Committee for Reviewing Confiscated Farmlands and Other Lands Sagaing Chief Minister Dr. Myint Naing explained how they handled the process for returning the relinquished confiscated lands.
Next, the Chief Minister, Regional Hluttaw Speaker, and Regional Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Kan Zar Mone conferred the temporary farmland license (form-3) to the local residents of Kanbalu District, Dabayin Township, Katha Township, and Taze Township.
Next, Deputy Ministers Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe, Maj-Gen Than Htut, and U Soe Aung and Permanent Secretary U Tin Myint of the Ministry of Home Affairs transferred 347.11 acres of Kanbalu District farmlands, 1,186.13 acres of Monywa District farmlands, 1,692.44 acres of Katha District farmlands, and 1,935.04 acres of Shwebo District farmlands to their respective District Administrators.
Present at the ceremony were Sagaing Region Chief Minister Dr. Myint Naing, Regional Hluttaw Speaker U Than, Deputy Minister for Defence Rear-Admiral Myint Nwe, Deputy Minister for Border Affairs Maj-Gen Than Htut, Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung, regional ministers, Permanent Secretaries, MPs, authorities from states, regions, districts, townships, ward, and village administrations, and the local residents.
At today’s ceremony, the No. 33 Light Infantry Division in Kanbalu Township returned more than 320 acres to 32 farmers; No. 929 Supply and Transport Battalion in Dabayin Township more than 70 acres to 26 farmers and a battalion for military security affairs in Katha District nearly two acres to three farmers. The Ministry of Defence has planned to return about 5,160 acres in total including more than 340 acres in Kantbalu District, more than 1,180 acres in Monywa District, nearly 1,700 acres in Katha District and more than 1,900 acres in Shwebo District to the State.