Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Farmers protest distribution of old farmlands

Local farmers have protested against the distribution of old farmlands in the Ngamyar village of Ngazun township in Myingyan district, Mandalay Region.

Farmers protest against unlawful charges against them and for the removal of the regional minister for agriculture and irrigation. Kyaw Ko Ko / The Myanmar TimesFarmers protest against unlawful charges against them and for the removal of the regional minister for agriculture and irrigation. Kyaw Ko Ko / The Myanmar Times

During the protest, these farmers also asked the locals to dismiss the regional minister of agriculture and irrigation.

Some 300 local farmers in Ngamyar village staged the protest on May 11. Under the current government, the old farms – worked by the local farmers for many years – were apportioned to other farmers as alluvial lands, and hence, the original landowners are losing their plots of land, said farmer U Toe Kywe who is from the same village.

“Farmers comprise the working-class people of the nation. We don’t want the minister because he oppresses the farmers. We having been working on these lands for many years, and now they apportion the lands saying these are alluvial lands. As we have already sowed our lands, they use police force, and jail the farmers,” added U Toe Kywe.

During the protest, the farmers shouted slogans like, “Drop the unlawful charges against farmers,” “Farmers’ oppressor: public enemy,” “We don’t want the minister of agriculture and irrigation,” and “We don’t want the ringleader who instigates fights between farmers.”

Last year, 1916 acres of alluvial land were equally apportioned to 1877 farmers. Over 1500 farmers accepted the distribution of lands according to the Farmland Law, while only 300 farmers opposed and interfered, according to township general administrative department officer U Aung Naing Oo.

The current problem is among farmers themselves – not between farmers and the government. The problems are being handled by the land management committee according to 2012 Farmland Law, the respective regional Hluttaw representative remarked.

Translation by Swe Zin Moe