VP U Henry Van Thio stresses need to cooperate with gov’t, traders in farm sector

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Vice President U Henry Van Thio delivers a speech at a meeting to promote and protect the rights of farmers and their businesses, in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.  Photo: MNA

Vice President U Henry Van Thio said the law to protect the rights of farmers and promote their interests is being amended to conform with the current era.
The Vice President made the comment in his capacity as the head of the Steering Committee for Farmers Rights, Protection and Interests Promotion at its preliminary meeting in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
“To implement the provisions prescribed in the farmers’ rights protection and interest promotion law, the government, traders, experts and people need to work together,” said U Henry Van Thio.
He also spoke about the five means to protect the rights and enhance the farmers’ law for their economic welfare, such as supporting them to obtain suitable loans, assisting them with production, promoting investment and technology to increase production, ensuring suitable prices for their products in the market, and protecting the rights and interests of small-scale farmers, as well as offering support for the grievances and losses caused by natural disasters.
Farmers who suffered losses in the 2016 natural disasters were given Ks4.67 billion for crop substitution, Ks4.19 billion for the maintenance of dams and Ks2.47 billion for the maintenance of roads and bridges by creating a separate government fund.
With the objective of ensuring that farmers can cultivate crops on time, the amount of loans was increased from Ks1 lakh to Ks1.5 lakh for one acre of monsoon paddy production in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, while the loans for other crops will be increased from Ks20,000 to Ks50,000 per acre. It is important that Union-level ministers, region and state governments, and working committees consisting of delegations from non-government organizations and private entrepreneurs collaborate together in this effort, he said.
The Myanma Agricultural Development Bank has granted more than 9 billion loans to 258 farmers in 10 regions and states and 60 townships in the 2017-2018 fiscal year to buy 258 power tillers.
Besides this, the government is planning to give loans to farmers to buy more agricultural machinery for post harvest work and the establishment of oil mills.
In his address, Vice President U Henry Van Thio also honoured the farmers, traders and governmental employees for the record rice export of more than 3 million tonnes, the highest in seven decades.
The Myanmar Rice Federation announced the basic index price for rice as Ks500,000 for 100 baskets on 6 March, as part of its efforts to guarantee the rights and interests of the country’s farmers.
Meanwhile, Myanmar earned US$690 million from fishery exports. The livestock export sector earned $3 million last year, and it is targeted to earn $38 million this year.
Myanmar is an agriculture-based country in which 70 per cent of the farmers depend on the agriculture sector.
At the meeting, Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr. Aung Thu and Union Minister for Commerce Dr. Than Myint reported on the current efforts to provide guarantee of rights and promote the interests of small-scale farmers, as well as help them get reasonable prices for their produce.

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