Dear esteemed peasants, our benefactors,
This day has been designated as the historic “Peasants Day” to honour with great dedication all peasants living all over the country who may be regarded as our benefactors. On this auspicious day, I send this Message of Greetings and good wishes to our benefactors, the peasants and their families for their good health and happiness, to be blessed with auspiciousness, good crops and livestock and for the continued progress of their socio-economic conditions.
At this time, we are striving for people-centered and inclusive sustainable development based on the 12 point economic policy for “all round development, food sufficiency and export promotion. To achieve this we are working to achieve an economic model which maintains a proper balance between agriculture and livestock production on one hand and mechanized agriculture on the other.”
Furthermore, as I have said in my New Year speech to the people on 17 April 2018, I have mentioned among other things, the Union Government’s 11 priority tasks to be accomplished in the short term. As included in the above priority tasks, we have been working on a priority basis to grant land ownership permits within one year, to give agricultural loans before the planting season, give tax exemption on agricultural inputs, availability of drinking water, agriculture, electricity and transportation.
Also, the Union Government has been working with diligence and focused attention for the release of illegally confiscated farmlands, to give out compensation and grievances suffered, to return released farmlands to original owners as quickly as possible, to make sure that confiscated farmlands which have not yet been released are investigated and reviewed as speedily as possible by the various committees and returned to the original owners.
It is the intention of the Law to protect and promote peasants rights, it is stated that with regard to confiscated farmlands, assistance should be provided to farmers to ensure that their interests are not harmed and to provide protection and security for farmers to work on their farmlands; in accordance with this stipulation, the Central Commission for the review and scrutiny of cases of confiscated farmlands and other lands and committees at the state/region levels have been working for the return of these confiscated farmlands. As of the end of 2018, a total of (425406) acres have been released. Out of these a total of (406719) have been returned to the farmers. As for the farmlands which have not yet been released, work is being done to return these farmlands to the farmers in accordance with established policies and procedures as speedily as possible.
In addition, work is being done in accordance with the Law Amending the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law which was enacted on 18 September 2018, to grant ownership rights for agricultural lands speedily, to grant farming rights speedily, and to ensure that in the case of ancestral lands which are related to traditions and cultures, and lands which have been granted public use, no such lands are to be classified as vacant, fallow or virgin lands.
We are also working on providing agricultural loans, obtaining fair prices for agricultural produce and stable markets, obtaining technical inputs and ensuring efficient and smooth production processes, in times of natural disasters to provide assistance to minimize loss and damages. In addition, in accordance with the Law to protect and promote farmers rights which was amended for the second time on 18 September 2018, we are assisting farmers working on small plots to protect their interests.
In the “Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (2018-2030), out of the three pillars, under pillar number 2, which is for prosperity and cooperation, there are three goals. It has been stipulated that goal number 3 is to work for job creation and private sector led development. According to that goal, to reduce poverty in rural areas, we are encouraging inclusive all-round agricultural and livestock production practices. We are working for the creation of an environment which would nurture an economy which would foster the production of all kinds of products. We are working on this as a strategy.
To implement the above strategic process, we need to work for the emergence of a sustainable agricultural production system. Thus we can produce agricultural and livestock products which are able to compete on the international markets. In this way we can elevate the socio-economic life of the rural people and also to contribute to the country’s economic development. With this in mind we are helping towards the transformation of traditional farming plots to mechanized agriculture. In addition, we are also working for ensuring a longer lifespan for dams, projects for utilization of river water, conducting public education campaigns and exhibitions for effective use of water and projects for production and distribution of quality seeds.
We are also working with special focus to ensure that farmers are able to plant new crops which will thrive under the changing climatic patterns; establishment of agricultural systems, emergency plans to overcome natural disasters to avoid food shortages; to keep emergency seed banks in order to meet these challenges; to build irrigation systems; to improve the quality of export products; to ensure that products are free from chemical residues; to prevent post-harvest losses; to work for the improvement of agricultural and livestock products so as to be able to compete in international markets to obtain better prices; to allow farmers to participate in the production process from the initial stage of seed planting to the exportation stage; and to conduct education campaigns to ensure that the latest agricultural techniques reach the farmers easily.
In addition we have begun broadcasting via TV to provide practical help at the farm level. This new TV channel called “Farmers TV” contains programs about farm sector news, education and entertainment programs.
To help farmers get the latest information for practical use, we are using information and communications technologies to disseminate news; creating model plots; giving training and education by conducting lectures and seminars; and giving out award certificates to farmers by conducting field trips. These efforts are not only helping in raising agricultural production but also laying firm foundations for ensuring food security for consumers.
Furthermore, in order to ensure the emergence of organic agriculture systems and to make sure that organic standards are strictly adhered to, we have announced on 26 January 2019 Myanmar Organic Standards based on ASEAN organic standards. As the world’s population is increasing daily, the current population of 7000 million will become 9000 in 2050. Therefore we need to produce more to obtain the needed food supply.
As our population will be increasing in the years to come, we need to redouble our efforts to increase agricultural production on all fronts not only to ensure food security but also to be able to boost the export of our agricultural products in the international markets.
Our country is rich in land and water resources. We also have a good climate which is favorable for agriculture and livestock production. Now is the opportune time for our honest and hardworking farmers to strive for the national interest and all round development with increased momentum. That is why as I send this Message of Greetings, I am urging all of you to meet our challenges with collective strength. Let us all march hand in hand till we reach our goal for the interest of all our farmers living all over the country and our citizens.