Nay Pyi Taw, 2 March — The following is a translation of the speech delivered by President Agga Maha Thayay Sithu, Agga Maha Thiri Thudhamma U Thein Sein on the occasion of the Peasants’ Day which falls on 2 March 2015.
Today, the second of March, is a historic day that represents the entire peasant farmers all over the country. I would like to extend my warmest greetings to all peasant farmers and wish them all peace of mind and body, and greater success in their agricultural work.
The democratically elected government started taking office on 30 March 2011 and will soon enter its fourth year in office.
Over the past four years, the government has prioritized two primary objectives of national stability and socioeconomic development. With a view to long-term national interests, an eight-point plan to combat poverty is underway. Tangible achievements have been witnessed in our constant efforts mainly exerted on agricultural development for rural farmers who constitute 70% of the entire population.
Being an agricultural country, Myanmar hugely relies on the farm workforce, which is why the government has made efforts to provide farmers with agricultural loans, enable them to secure vibrant markets for their produce and products, facilitate their technical input and productivity, support them with their losses claimed by natural disasters, and enact laws to protect the rights and interests of smallholders.
Farmlands, which used to depend on rainwater, have now been irrigated so that multiple cropping can create more job opportunities and help farmers earn more incomes.
Measures are being taken to maintain the health of irrigation facilities built by past governments, while continuous efforts are being made to accomplish incomplete ones.
In addition, short- and long-term plans are being made to introduce a shift from traditional to modernized farming across the country, with the Nay Pyi Taw council area designated as the Union land.
To enable farmers to increase their per acre yields and ensure quality crops, agriculturalists disseminate scientific farming methods, which is like laying a solid foundation for the improvement of the agricultural sector.
Model plantations are being grown in all the states and regions simultaneously as part of raising agricultural awareness all over the country.
Encouragement is being given to agriculturalists to spread hybrid seeds to farmers on a broader scale so as to ensure crop quality and high yields.
Private sector has taken part in producing high-yield paddy seeds, a fundamental requisite for the farmers, to promote agricultural industry. This initiative has turned out a better opportunity for the farmers.
The government is helping in the production of value-added foods from agricultural products to be able to penetrate into global market which can help increase income of farmers.
In doing so, the cooperatives sector is making strenuous efforts for the contribution of farmers from seeding stage to sending the crops into the markets, by forming cooperative groups across the country.
As strong markets are fundamentals for seasonal crops, the government is also making plans to establish wholesale markets with international norms.
Modern farming technologies, agricultural information, weather report and market figures are being broadcast from the Farmer Channel together with entertainment programmes for the relaxation of farmers. Song composition contests are also annually held to honor the farmers.
Foods, clothes and shelters are the requisites for daily lives of human beings, while food and nutrition are the basic necessities. Although the size of this planet cannot be expanded, the worlds’ population is increasing annually. The present global population of more than 7,000 million is estimated to reach around 9,000 million in 2050, resulting in higher demand of foods.
As a result of global warming, the Earth is suffering from drought, heavy rains, excess snowfall, storms, earthquakes and tsunami waves. These natural disasters have impacts of food shortage and the world countries are seriously considering preparedness measures to overcome these problems.
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has been accelerating its encouragement for increased crop cultivation and production comprehensively for the food security of a population of 100 million the country will have in a few years as well as for exports of more produces to other countries.
It is an opportune time to speed up efforts for national interests comprehensively including the agriculture sector with the strength of very honest and hardworking peasants under the favourable weather conditions for agriculture with abundance of land and water resources.
In making the most effective use of the favourable conditions and take advantage of the opportune time, changing the mind-set to personally participate with the will for success in the efforts for keeping abreast of nieghbouring countries, shifting to modern irrigated farming system, changing from traditional farming system to the mechanized one, substituting traditional seeds with modern high-yield seeds, educating peasants to reduce losses and wastage during the period from cultivation to harvest seasons, and production of high quality value-added products can realize the comprehensive development of the agriculture sector.
Esteemed peasant farmers
The government has been accelerating its momentum to build the peaceful modern and developed democratic nation, which is the genuine will of all citizens, after finding out various ways and means.
I would like to urge all with all seriousness to march towards the goal by overcoming future challenges, barriers and difficulties after joining hands through thick and thin as travel companions aboard the same boat toward the same destination in the long-term interests of all citizens including peasant farmers.