To promote the livelihood of farmers who make up over 70 per cent of the total population of Myanmar, we need to make legislations which can protect them when crops, cattle, or machinery fail.
This is because crops that grew well in the past may no longer continue to do so due to climate change, and crops are getting damaged by droughts or floods every year.
Farmers are important to our country’s economy as well as for achieving food sufficiency for our people. Due to this, the Protecting Rights and Enhancing Economic Welfare of Farmers Law was enacted.
Climate change-induced variation in rainfall patterns, droughts, flooding, and geographical redistribution of pests and diseases pose a major challenge to our farmers.
With the impact of climate change looming large on agricultural productivity, the insurance sector has a big role to play.
Crop insurance is now being offered in Ayeyawady Region and only covers paddy now, but it will cover other crops in the future.
The Seeds Law and the Fertilizer Law would be amended to guarantee compensation to farmers when they suffer due to poor quality seeds or fertilizers.
Meanwhile, we must provide protection to the livestock farming sector, especially for cattle for which permission has been granted for export.
With the permission, the price of livestock has increased from around K300,000-K400,000 to K1.5 million. As the changing policy has boosted the country’s cattle farming sector, we need to launch the country’s first-ever livestock insurance coverage facility for cattle farmers.
We believe that the scheme would benefit cattle farmers immensely as it aims to mitigate the risk of livestock loss due to accidental death, disease, partial disability, or even, death during calving.
At the same time, one of the key requirements regarding the promotion of farmers’ livelihood is agricultural machinery insurance as the number of mechanics is very low in comparison to the number of machinery in rural areas.
We have been working to switch from traditional farming to mechanized farming practices, but our efforts have not yet met with success.
Now, there are a large number of farm equipment which are repairable standing idle in rural areas.
The government, on its part, should make plans for helping farmers with loans for agricultural machinery, including farm tractors and rice mills.
Hence, an agricultural insurance scheme should cover crops, cattle, and tractors.
We are confident that a successful insurance system is an important tool for poverty alleviation and job creation, particularly in the rural areas, as it safeguards the interests of farmers.